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Troy Tulowitzki is now a member of the Toronto Blue JaysDustin Bradford/Getty Images

There is no doubt that when it came to popularity contest in the Toronto Blue Jays' clubhouse, Jose Reyes would win hands down.

His face was always framed by an infectious grin and his hearty belly laugh, which threatened to erupt at any time, helped to keep things loose and amicable within the locker even when things were going sideways on the field.

But that alone is not enough to guarantee security in the cutthroat business of Major League Baseball.

And now the popular Reyes is an ex-Blue Jay.

Read more: In Tulowitzki deal, Jays get an elite game-changing player in his prime

Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos has rolled the dice on a blockbuster trade that the general manager believes will pay dividends not only for this season but also for years to come.

Ever-popular Jose Reyes was the key piece that Anthopoulos had to part with in order to land Troy Tulowitzki, the Colorado Rockies shortstop who has been the apple of the GM's eye for some time.

The Blue Jays also landed veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins as part of the deal, from a Colorado outfit languishing in last place in the National League West and looking to cut salary.

Along with Reyes, the Blue Jays agreed to send three minor-league pitching prospects to Colorado: fire-baller Miguel Castro, who made the Jays out of training camp this season before being sent down to Triple-A; Jeff Hoffman, Toronto's No. 1 draft pick in 2014; and Venezuelan Jesus Tinoco, who signed as an international free agent in 2011.

The deal was considered a stunner in the sense that it didn't address the team's most pressing need – starting pitching. The Blue Jays had said a starter was the main ingredient they were seeking to help bolster a .500 club and make a serious push for the playoffs over the second half of the season.

Instead, on a team already equipped with the best offence in MLB, the GM decided to add to his team's strength by acquiring Tulowitzki, a career .299 hitter who has swatted at least 25 or more home runs in five of his 10 MLB seasons.

Tulowitzki is widely considered to be the game's best all-around shortstop, not only with the bat but also with a defensive game that has earned him two Gold Gloves while toiling in the NL.

While Reyes remained an effective leadoff hitter, his defence had become a liability.

"Obviously, adding a guy like Troy, we're getting the best shortstop in baseball, in our minds," Anthopoulos said on Tuesday during a news conference to trumpet the deal. "And those opportunities don't present themselves. So we're just thrilled."

With baseball's non-waiver trade deadline not arriving until 4 p.m. (ET) on Friday, Anthopoulos still has a couple of more days to land that starting pitcher, although the GM did not sound all that optimistic about that happening.

"I know every other club's looking at the same thing, everyone looking to add to get better," he said when asked about strengthening the team's rotation. "I can't make any promises."

R.A. Dickey, the Blue Jays knuckleball pitcher, was asked if he felt that Anthopoulos had done enough to strengthen a team for a playoff run through the addition of Tulowitzki and a reliever.

"I think it would still be nice to go get an arm, and I know [Anthopoulos] knows that," Dickey said. "And I'm sure he's blowing up the phone probably as we speak, working on other deals. But it certainly helps us. I think Tulo is a Gold Glover, you know, too. You're not losing anything defensively either, which always helps pitching. And of course Hawkins will help."

There is little doubt in Hawkins's mind that Tulowitzki can make a difference.

"He's a superstar," said Hawkins, who, unlike Tulowitzki, managed to arrive in Toronto in time for Tuesday night's game at Rogers Centre against the Philadelphia Phillies. "What 'superstar' means in the baseball world, Tulo is that. He can do it all. He doesn't run as well as he used to, but as far as fielding, hitting and throwing and just mental capacity, his baseball IQ is off the charts."

In terms of financing, Rogers Communications Inc., the Blue Jays' owner, can't be accused of skimping as the Blue Jays have added about $52-million to their payroll over the lifetime of the guaranteed deals.

Tulowitzki's contract is front-loaded and he is set to earn $20-million annually through the 2019 season, $14-million in 2020, and $15-million in 2021 if the team picks up its option.

Hawkins, who is 42 and holds the distinction of being baseball's oldest player this season, will earn $2.25-million and may retire at the end of this season.

Reyes also has a rich deal, earning $22-million in 2016 and 2017, with a club option for the same amount in 2018.

"Again, we've always focused on the short and long term," Anthopoulos said. "And we felt that an acquisition like this does both."