Timing, Rockies' return made Tulo deal work
DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich certainly wasn't shy in saying the most noteworthy trade in franchise history unfolded in an unusual fashion.
The blockbuster deal -- which sent franchise cornerstone Troy Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins to the Blue Jays for shortstop Jose Reyes and pitching prospects Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman and Jesus Tinoco -- was first confirmed roughly an hour after Colorado's 9-8 loss to the Cubs on Monday night.
After delivering an RBI groundout in the top of the ninth, Tulowitzki didn't return to his shortstop position for the bottom half of the inning. Once the game ended, he spent a long amount of time in manager Walt Weiss' office while Bridich talked with Tulowitzki's agent, Paul Cohen.
"He was stunned, as expected," Bridich said during a Tuesday morning news conference at Coors Field. "I think most people involved were stunned. That's really the best way I can put it. There was a lot of surprise -- a lot of shock. A lot of questions just how it all came together."
Bridich said the Blue Jays first expressed interest in Tulowitzki this past winter, but those talks didn't amount to anything solid. As for the discussions leading up to finalizing a deal, Bridich said he and Toronto had been in communication "on and off for over a week."
But with an asking price on Tulowitzki that Bridich characterized as "fairly high," the Rockies GM said it was only recently that the Blue Jays offered a return that, in his mind, "merited serious consideration."
"We went from almost really nothing going on just hours prior to the game [on Monday], to zero to 60 in a matter of minutes and hours," Bridich said. "To be able to pull it all together certainly by the end of a night is somewhat surprising.
"But we were able to do it, and we're very, very, very positive and hopeful that as tough as it is to say goodbye to Troy and LaTroy, that this brightens our future."
The key components to making that come to fruition are the three pitching prospects Colorado received -- all of whom will be sent to different Minor League levels. Castro, 20, who will head to Triple-A Albuquerque, appears to be the most Major League ready. He made 13 appearance with Toronto this season, all in relief, and Bridich said he'll remain in the bullpen at Albuquerque.
Hoffman and Tinoco, meanwhile, will be sent to Double-A New Britain and Class A Asheville, respectively. Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery while at East Carolina, Hoffman is considered the crown jewel of the Rockies' return. The No. 9 overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft was the Blue Jays' second-best pitching prospect, according to MLB.com, and had a 2.93 ERA in 13 starts this season -- 11 at High Class A Dunedin and two at Double-A New Hampshire.
As for Reyes, who is a four-time All-Star and former batting champion, he's Colorado's new shortstop -- although Bridich did say "anything's possible" as far as a potential flip before Friday's 2 p.m. MT non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"The way that this came down and how quickly it came down, that played into the timing," Bridich said. "It's not like you draw it up and say, 'Let's do this last minute during the ninth inning of the game and have it all rushed at 11 p.m. or [midnight] on the East Coast, where it's difficult to get ahold of people.'
"That's not how you draw it up ideally, but that's the nature of some of these deals."