Don’t sleep. That’s what we found out on Monday night when the Toronto Blue Jays and Colorado Rockies completed a blockbuster deal. We knew it was going to be an exciting week with the MLB Trade Deadline, but I’m not sure that any of us expected something this big on Monday. That story, plus the other top news blurbs going on in the sports world will be covered in today’s edition of the Daily Six Pack.
Blue Jays Go For It
The Toronto Blue Jays have not made the postseason in 22 years. With everybody expecting them to acquire pitching, they instead went out and grabbed the best offensive shortstop in the game. The Blue Jays sent Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, Jose Reyes, and Jesus Tinoco to the Colorado Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki and Latroy Hawkins. The deal sent shockwaves through the MLB world very early in the morning.
In Tulowitzki, the Jays get an enormous upgrade at shortstop. Jose Reyes’s defense had taken a turn for the worse and his offensive upside was nowhere near that of Tulowitzki’s. There are a lot of layers to this deal. Detractors will point to Tulowitzki’s home/road splits, which are undoubtedly Coors Field influenced. His .321/.394/.558 slash at home is substantially better than his .276/.349/.468 slash on the road. But, his road wOBA of .353 and wRC+ of 118 place him among some pretty rare company from a shortstop standpoint. There’s also the injury factor, which has to be considered, especially playing on the turf in Colorado.
The Rockies didn’t get Dalton Pompey, Daniel Norris, or Aaron Sanchez, but they get a lot of upside in Jeff Hoffman. Hoffman had a chance to be the #1 overall pick in 2014, but an elbow injury caused him to tumble to ninth overall. Some scouts believe he is a frontline starter. Others believe he will be a great #3, depending on the development of a third pitch. The Rockies also added Miguel Castro, another flamethrower, but he may project better in a relief role.
The Rockies gambled on high upside pitching with big arms. If they can find a taker for Jose Reyes and rid themselves of some, or all, of his salary, this is going to be a very strong deal for them. They already saved about $50M in the swap and infused some talented pitching into the system.
The undertones of this deal are that it may signal a fire sale for Colorado. Hoffman is decidedly farther away than Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris, who both have Major League experience already. Perhaps the Jays wouldn’t move those two guys, but the Rockies are going to wear it with their current rotation until Hoffman comes up. Top prospect Jon Gray is knocking on the door. If Eddie Butler, Tyler Matzek, or Chad Bettis can live up to their potential, this has the makings of an above average rotation.
The Blue Jays are still in the market for pitching and now appear more likely to add somebody like Mike Leake or Jeff Samardzija as a rental rather than get a controlled arm. They increased payroll in a big way by adding Tulo and, at some point, finances probably become a concern.
Other MLB Deals
That Jays/Rockies swap was certainly the biggest of the day, but there were a couple other deals on Monday to discuss. The New York Mets added Tyler Clippard for Single-A pitcher Casey Meisner. Some baseball insiders lamented the Mets’ trade of a promising pitcher for a bullpen upgrade when the Mets should be focused on offense instead, but Clippard was the best reliever on the market. Jonathan Papelbon insists on closing wherever he goes and that can really upset a team dynamic. Clippard is content with the setup role, a role he had behind Rafael Soriano for a long time in Washington.
In Meisner, the A’s get a lottery ticket to see how he develops. He’s only 20 and was drafted out of high school, so there’s not a lot of polish currently. He is 6-foot-7, so velocity gains and marginal stuff that can jump up on hitters are two things that could elevate his ceiling. He has back-end of the rotation potential.
The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim completed a trade that sent Shane Victorino and cash to the Angels for Josh Rutledge. This deal made no sense for the Red Sox, other than to give Victorino the chance to play for another contender. Rutledge provides no upside. They would have been better off getting a lottery ticket Single-A arm.
A Landmark Hiring
The Arizona Cardinals saw the success that Becky Hammon had with the San Antonio Spurs and thought, “Why not?” On Monday, the Cardinals hired former women’s professional football player Jen Welter as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and the preseason. She will work with the inside linebackers.
Welter was coaching for the Texas Revolution in the Indoor Football League, the team that she made an appearance for in 2014. General manager Tim Brown (yes, that Tim Brown) gave her the opportunity after she played for 14 years in the Women’s Football Alliance.
Kudos to Bruce Arians and the Cardinals for providing this opportunity for a woman that has played the game at about the highest level that a woman can. Her hiring will be met with some opposition in the locker room and in the NFL in general, but there’s no downside to this for the Cardinals. It’s a non-guaranteed position on a trial basis.
This coincides with the fact that Sarah Thomas will be the first full-time female NFL official. It’s safe to say that she will face a lot more hardships and sexism than Welter will given her job title. If you recall, Chris Paul lashed out at Lauren Holtkamp, one of two full-time NBA refs, back in February. He questioned her abilities and said “This might not be for her”.
USO-C You Later
The USOC is vying to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. Boston was expected to be the proposed US site of those games. On Monday, Boston’s mayor, Marty Walsh, refused to sign the host city contract because of funding concerns and the concerns of his constituents. Bostonians seemed to have no interest in hosting the games, spending on the infrastructure, and then getting left high and dry after the fact. Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker had been skeptical throughout the process as well.
Now, the USOC is looking at alternate destinations, including Los Angeles. Los Angeles hosted the Olympics in 1984 and 1932. No US city has hosted the Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996. Rome, Paris, and Hamburg, Germany are already in the bidding. At this point, it would be a bit of an upset if a US city wins the IOC bid for the 2024 games. Los Angeles could be getting some new facilities if the proposed NFL stadiums go up, but the fact that the Boston proposal went so bad won’t inspire confidence from the IOC.
College Basketball News?! Yes
The Maui Invitational is coming up rather quickly, now less than four months away. Very late on Monday night, we found out that the field is going to be stacked. Kansas and Indiana are joining UCLA and UNLV, as well as Wake Forest, St. John’s and, of course, host school Chaminade.
This is often one of the most exciting early-season tournaments, not just because of the venue, but because of the caliber of competition. Kansas just won the gold medal at the World University Games in South Korea and they are expected to win the Big 12. UCLA and Indiana were both tournament teams last season. St. John’s has a new head coach in former NBA player and executive Chris Mullin. This will be a tournament to keep a close eye on as you learn about these teams for the 2015-16 season.
NBA News Dump
More NBA news came down the pike on Monday night. Kobe Bryant will be moved around the lineup as the Los Angeles Lakers try to milk whatever production they can out of him, without doing so at the expense of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Lou Williams. Head coach Byron Scott said that Bryant could be moved to the ‘3’ role of small forward, where he may have to play on the interior a little bit more. Scott also hinted that he may get down into the block and play a little bit of a power forward role. How Bryant, 36, will feel about the changes is anybody’s guess, but he probably won’t react too favorably. It does make sense for Scott, however, to take some of Bryant’s shooting freedom away in an indirect manner.
Postseason hero Matthew Dellavedova has been retained by the Cleveland Cavs on a one-year deal. The scrappy guard developed a cult following in Cleveland after excelling in his role as pest during the NBA playoffs. His $1.2M qualifying deal will allow him to become a free agent next season.
The Miami Heat continued to shed salary on Monday, trading Zoran Dragic and a second-rounder to the Boston Celtics. The Heat also moved Shabazz Napier on Sunday. The Heat are inching closer towards the luxury tax threshold after cutting nearly $11M in salary and luxury taxes with these two deals. Aren’t NBA salary caps fun?
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