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The Colorado Rockies have acquired OF Randal Grichuk and cash from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade for OF Raimel Tapia and IF Adrian Pinto.
Tapia, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010 at the age of 16, has been one of the few recognizable faces on the Rockies since the departures of Carlos González, DJ LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Jon Gray in recent years.
“I’m a little sad,” Tapia said in front of media through an interpreter. “I’ve been here my whole career. I appreciate the teammates I’ve got to know over the years. I’d like to thank Colorado for giving me the opportunity to start my career here. Now it’s just time to move on and hopefully go on to be a Blue Jay and do my best.”
Debuting with Colorado in 2016, it wouldn’t be until 2019 that Tapia began to receive regular playing time and became the team’s every day left fielder.
He recorded a pinch-hit single in the 2017 National League Wild Card Game loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks and was left off the 2018 postseason roster.
During the shortened 60-game season in 2020, Tapia displayed the long-awaited upside that coaches and fans had envisioned. He led the team with a .321 batting average, finishing eighth in the NL.
In 2021, Tapia became the regular leadoff hitter. Despite batting .288 through August 8, his on-base percentage was just .339 at that point. On August 10, he was placed on the injured list with a big toe sprain.
Connor Joe was inserted at the top of the lineup from that point and began to emerge as the regular left fielder. Tapia came off the IL on August 30 and struggled to find his rhythm, hitting just .209 with one home run and five runs batted in over 91 at-bats.
Tapia’s career with Colorado ends after 439 games through six seasons. He slashed .280/.325/.395 with 102 extra-base hits and 136 RBI and set career highs in hits (133), runs (69), doubles (26), RBI (50), stolen bases (20) and walks (40) in 133 games in 2021.
The Rockies also included prospect Adrian Pinto in the deal with the Jays. The 19-year-old from Venezuela finished second in batting average (.360) during the 2021 Dominican Summer League at only 18-years-old.
In return, the Rockies receive an everyday outfielder that could solve the situation at center field. Grichuk hit .241 last season with the Blue Jays with 22 home runs and 81 RBI. He can play all three outfield positions and has appeared primarily in center since 2019.
Over his eight-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals and Blue Jays, the 30-year-old has a slash line of .245/.293/.473 with 156 home runs and 439 RBI. Excluding the shortened 2020 season, the right-handed hitter has topped the 20 home run mark in each of his last five seasons.
The Rosenberg, TX native is slated to make $10.3 million over the next two years. Since Toronto is sending cash, Colorado will not have to pay the entirety of his salary.