There’s a debate raging in my head when it comes to the Toronto Blue Jays‘ otherworldly offensive output in 2015.

Which was more shocking: the Blue Jays dominating baseball in nearly every offensive category or shortstop Troy Tulowitzki having nothing to do with it after being traded to Toronto? 

Since adding one of baseball’s best hitters did nothing to boost an already potent Blue Jays offense in 2015, Toronto should only look better at the plate in 2016 with Tulowitzki in a Blue Jays uniform the entire season.

Last year, the Blue Jays led MLB with 570 walks, a .340 on-base percentage, 232 homers and 891 runs scored, which were 127 more than the second-place Yankees. Toronto’s .269 batting average was second to Detroit’s league-leading .270.

Tulowitzki—a career .297 hitter—is all that stood between Toronto and the team batting title.

After a trade on July 28 sent him to Toronto, Tulowitzki hit .239/.317/.380 in 41 games with the team. It was a shockingly poor output for a player who had hit .300/.348/.471 in the 87 games prior with the Rockies.

The offseason might have helped ease his psyche. Tulowitzki deserves criticism for having brought his issues with the Rockies to Toronto.

A nasty, public split with Colorado ended with Tulowitzki and Rockies manager Walt Weiss getting into a verbal altercation after Weiss pulled the shortstop from a game and told him he was headed to Toronto.

Tulowitzki believed he would be consulted about any potential trade, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. That apparently did not happen.

I’ll never talk to him, never talk to those people,” Tulowitzki said. “You get lied to, straight to your face, you get upset. I believe in forgiveness, but at the same time, I don’t plan on being friendly with them, or anything like that.”

He was so furious about the situation that his rage spilled over into spring training this year. Just a few weeks ago, Tulowitzki engaged in a wide-ranging rant on the Rockies organization in an interview with Nightengale. He not only criticized the way in which his trade was handled, but he also knocked the Rockies’ spring training facility and voiced his frustrations with being the leader on a young Colorado team.

But most importantly to Toronto, Tulowitzki vowed he was done rehashing the situation. Whether justified or not, the aftermath of the breakup with Colorado weighed on him last season.

The passing of time should give him relief.

The reality, though, is that regardless of the reasons, its difficult to imagine Tulowitzki struggling as much as he did with the Blue Jays in 2015.

Yet, last season Toronto’s offense still served as the league’s benchmark—in name only. The numbers the Blue Jays put up seemed far too unattainable for any other roster.

The fact Tulowitzki did nothing to help that effort makes it seem as though the team is adding a new All-Star to its 2016 roster. That’s the kind of player Tulowitzki proved to be over his 10-year career, save for those 41 games last season with the Blue Jays.

Tulowitzki’s struggles at the end of last season brought his batting average down to .280, which was his worst mark since hitting .263 in 2008. Based on his production over the past half-decade, his performance after the trade seems to be an outlier.

We’re likely to see the version of Tulowitzki in 2016 that can hit .300 as easily as Justin Bieber can find his next girlfriend. Remember, the five-time All-Star hit .340 just two seasons ago.

Switching leagues may have had an adverse effect on Tulowitzki. An offseason to study the American League pitchers he will face regularly should allow him to round back into the hitter he was before Colorado traded him to Toronto, even if he’s leaving hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Even if Tulowitzki doesn’t return to being the .300 hitter he was for so many seasons with the Rockies, he is almost certain to hit better than .239. His history suggests it.

It’s impossible to look at last season’s Blue Jays output, presume that Tulowitzki will be better and dismiss the idea that Toronto will be even better offensively in 2016.

Given the numbers the Blue Jays posted, it seems hard to believe. Insane even.

But considering the Blue Jays traded for Tulowitzki to rely on him offensively, it’s clear the team didn’t reach its full potential in 2015. Without a star player playing as such, Toronto couldn’t have done so.

Even the slightest improvement from Tulowitzki means even more is possible for this team.

Looking at Toronto’s 2015 offensive numbers, even now, is stunning. Then imagine how much more is possible in 2016 with Tulowitzki unencumbered by the baggage that comes with being traded midseason.

And if he returns to form, the Blue Jays’ shocking output from 2015 could turn into something outright historic this season.


Seth Gruen is a national baseball columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @SethGruen and like his Facebook page.

Read more MLB news on