What To Do With Troy Tulowitzki?

19
May

Another year and another losing season for the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies are currently 13-21, good enough for dead last in the NL West. They’re also the 3rd worst team in baseball behind the Athletics and Brewers. I don’t think anyone had high expectations for the Rockies this season, but something has to happen with this team. They have been stagnant way too long.

Just last week, Tulowitzki and his agent met with Rockies’ management to try to figure out where both sides wanted to go. Many were eager to hear some major breaking news, but nothing happened. The Rockies’ shortstop did not demand a trade and all remains status quo. Not exactly the news Colorado fans wanted to hear.

The following day, Tulowitzki exited their game against the Dodgers in the 3rd inning due to left quadricep tightness. Ouch. The oft-injured Tulowitzki hasn’t had a great start to the season and this certainly doesn’t help his season, his trade value, or the Rockies. While Tulo missed the remainder of the series, a trip to the DL doesn’t look likely. With that being said, no one wants to hear the words ‘injured’ and ‘Tulowitzki’ in the same sentence. The shortstop hasn’t played a full season since 2011 and has had a variety of trips to the disabled list with multiple injuries.

This season, the right-handed hitter is hitting .284, but only has two HR and 11 RBI. Not only is his slugging percentage down from years prior, he has 29 strikeouts compared to only two walks. His OBP sits at a career low .292. His defense is rated his worst ever. Many were expecting a strong season from Tulowitzki, especially if healthy. He has been healthy for most of the season, but the numbers just aren’t there. That is very worrisome for a player who is on the wrong side of 30 and who has six years and $118 million remaining on his contract (including this season).

I mean, it’s inevitable right? The guy has to go. I thought the Rockies should have traded him years ago and never did. His value is plummeting every day and I don’t think it is going to get much better for him. The Rockies have kept him and Carlos Gonzalez around for quite a few years now and have nothing to show for it. These two aren’t the answers for this ball club and they need to move on right now.

Luckily, they have quite a few teams interested in the shortstop. But this interest may not last long. Teams like the Mets, Padres, Mariners seem like they would be very interested. Let’s look at their starting SS numbers:

Mets

Wilmer Flores – 33 games, .250 AVG, 6 HR, 15 RBI, 4 2B, 0 SB, .294 OBP

Padres

Alexi Amarista – 32 games, .196 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 2B, 1 SB, .297 OBP

Mariners

Brad Miller – 35 games, .264 AVG, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 7 2B, 3 SB, .328 OBP

 

The Rockies and Mets have had many conversations over the years about Tulotwizki. Is it finally the time a deal gets completed? The Mets are surprisingly atop of the NL East at 22-16, but the Nationals will be around for the long haul. Flores has been one of their bigger prospects in their system, but I’m not sure if he is their long-term fix at shortstop. Tulowitzki would come in right away and take over that position and could help the Mets have a real chance at a postseason run. But do they really want Tulo and David Wright on the same team? While Wright has never had an injury problem, he has only played eight games this season and his decline started years ago. Sound familiar?

The Padres make a lot of sense, only because A.J. Preller runs the show. San Diego sits a game under .500 and are six games back of the Dodgers. They’re certainly still in the playoff race and the moves they made this offseason tell us they’re not going away anytime soon. Preller loves to make a splash. On Opening Day,¬†Preller traded for Craig Kimbrel. Who does that?! I can almost guarantee he has had the “Trade for Tulo” discussion amongst management.

As for the Mariners (my World Series pick), they rank 24th in AVG and 26th in runs scored. While offense hasn’t been their only problem, they certainly would like to add to their lineup. Cano and Seager have had a tough go at it so far this season, but hopefully they heat up come summertime. Adding Tulowitzki to their lineup¬†would be very appealing to the Mariners’ front office.

While I didn’t mention this team earlier, dare I say the Dodgers could make a move? The Jimmy Rollins Project has been extremely disappointing so far, as he is only hitting .196 in 36 games. Would trading for Tulowitzki make sense? No, not really. But the Dodgers say, “Why not?”. Sure, their payroll stands at $272+ million. Sure, one of baseball’s top prospects Corey Seager is moments away from a shot at the big leagues. But the Dodgers just don’t care. If they think they have a legitimate shot at winning the World Series this year, which they do, maybe they just roll the dice here. Now I’m not saying they are the frontrunners by any stretch of the imagination, but I wouldn’t rule them out.

I would like to guarantee Tulowitzki gets traded this season. But I can’t do that. There have been many times he should have been dealt – it just hasn’t happened. This year seems like the best time to do it. His value is taking a major hit, and it might be time to sell now while the Rockies can. It will be interesting to see if they do dangle Tulo to other teams, what these teams would be willing to offer. While the shortstop has a ton of upside – and when healthy and hitting – is an MVP-canidate, his contract, age, and injury history might be too much to handle. The Rockies aren’t going anywhere. It’s time to finally begin the full rebuild.

About the author: Jack Conness

Graduate of UW-Milwaukee. Baseball nerd. Follow him on Twitter! @JackConness