Please note: writing in this space has been scarce as my old workhorse of a laptop was dying a slow death and made updating difficult. I was also quite effected by the death of my furry companion of 14 years, making writing a serious chore. Baseball, as always, was a solace. As was getting a new machine, which I am currently typing on. The keyboard is a little weird.
The trade that went down on July 28th, 2015 has had a lasting effect on both shortstops that were switched. Given that Troy Tulowitzki makes his first return to Coors Field tonight and José Reyes made his debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones, a Mets affliate, after signing with the New York Mets last week.
Let's talk about the relatively easy one first.
Troy Tulowitzki, who tends to hold his cards very close to his chest, has talked in the past about how much the trade shocked and hurt him. The shock was so big that he never quite got over it in 2015, so he was never quite comfortable with the Jays, even as they surged their way to the top of the AL East and came just two wins from the World Series.
Tulowitzki came in to spring training still talking of betrayal, of being lied to to his face, but wanted to move forward. He told Bob Nightengale of USA Today he was excited to be playing with the great ballplayers he was surrounded with in Toronto.
Unease seems to follow the guy around. He has said multiple times that he sees 2016 as a new begining. But people have wondered. He looked completely lost offensively to start the season, but after some time on the DL, Tulowitzki has turned it on offensively. It's not consistent yet, but there are good signs.
Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star has an excellent overview of Tulo since coming to the Blue Jays, including great quotes from his former general manager Dan O'Dowd. It provides some insight to a guy who is still a bit of a mystery to Toronto fans.
I think the issue, beyond just the inconsistencies, is that Troy Tulowitzki is taciturn on a team of loquaciousness. He doesn't reveal much which allows the hot take deliverers to fill in the blanks. "He's not comfortable, he never smiles, he must hate it here. Trade him. We have Goins."
But there are signs he likes it here. He was reportedly delightful with fans at Spring Training ("We love you, Troy!" "I love you, too!"). He publicly kissed his baby. He also roomed with Josh Donaldson, which seemed very much an Oscar and Felix situation, except for their shared love of baseball.
I suspect, however, that much like how Josh Donaldson may be more serious than he lets on, Troy Tulowitzki is sometimes less serious than he seems. I have seen him make his teammates laugh in the dugout.
Maybe he just needs this look again.
Troy Tulowitzki is just never going to give us a lot in the way of openness. He's always going to be the guy who will tell Barry Davis he's just going to go out there to have fun while looking like he's about to go for root canal.
This is him. And he's one hell of a ballplayer.
Now to the other one.
The issue is a complicated one. I'm not against second chances, especially if someone puts the work in to make a situation better, but I'm not ok with the idea that somehow a person can be redeemed by doing their job well. Don't let that happen, New York media.
Here was Reyes' statement.
The Post article also quotes his agent saying that Reyes was the most down and depressed he'd ever seen him after the trade. He was miserable in Colorado.
When I heard of the arrest last fall, I suspected work stress contributed to a toxic situation in his personal life. It's not an excuse for violence, but it could be a reason. It was a way for me to make sense of a seemingly happy person, as reported all throughout his career with the Jays and elsewhere, doing something so ugly.
But maybe the lesson here is one that connects these two men beyond the fact that they have both played shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays. One that has all the appearance of being happy go lucky might be hiding a darker side and the other may look like ill at ease and miserable, but might be just fine.
We know these men. And yet we don't.
Some quality stuff on Baby Jays: