The Rockies have a difficult decision to make about Troy Tulowitzki.
Rumors have been swirling around Colorado Rockies star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Things have gotten so bad in Colorado (the team currently sports the third worst record in Major League Baseball) that Tulowitzki and his agent had a meeting to discuss whether or not to formally request a trade. Ultimately, Tulowitzki and his camp decided not to publicly attempt to force him out of Colorado. Despite the lack of a formal trade request, it is clear there is tension between the Rockies and Tulowitzki. The Rockies will have to decide whether or not to trade him this summer.
The Case for Keeping Him
The Rockies have several interesting offensive pieces at the Major League level. Nolan Arenado, DJ LeMahieu, Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon are all young players who profile as everyday players and it’s not a stretch to think that a few of these players will appear in multiple All Star games. Combining these players with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez should form the core of a dynamic offense at Coors Field.
The Rockies also have several highly regarded prospects. Pitching prospects Eddie Butler (who is already a member of the Rockies rotation) and Jon Gray should be able to significantly impact the Rockies’ rotation in the near future. Spending wisely in free agency on starting pitchers to round out the rotation would go a long way in improving the Rockies. In addition, the Rockies have several highly regarded position player prospects who are currently blocked at the big league level. A significant trade to upgrade the rotation is also a possibility.
It’s not impossible to see how the Rockies could be able to move from cellar dweller to wild card contender in short order. By 2017 the landscape of the NL West could change and the Rockies could once again be contenders.
The Case for Trading Him
Tulowitzki is already 30 years old and currently in the fifth year of a 10-year contract extension. By waiting longer, the odds of Colorado receiving a franchise-changing return lessen. Additionally, the Rockies’ pitching staff is so bad, currently last in the national league with a 5.02 ERA, that trading Tulowitzki is the only realistic way of upgrading a staff that needs front line starting pitching.
It’s difficult to see the Rockies contending in 2016 as the young pitching the team has will take some time to develop at the big league level and if they do want to contend in 2016, they will have to spend a lot in free agency to solidify the pitching staff.
The Rockies also have prospect Trevor Story, who could replace Tulowitzki in the short term. The Rockies in addition have the third overall pick in this year’s draft. If things break right for them, they could draft Brendan Rodgers, who could be a long-term replacement for Tulowitzki.
The potential trading partners are also excellent at this time. The Nationals, Mets, Yankees and Red Sox could make a run at Tulowitzki. Each has intriguing pieces to offer the Rockies. The Mets would probably be at the front of the line if they are serious about upgrading the team’s offense. The Mets have the pitching prospects the Rockies desperately need.
Best Course of Action
So when the trade deadline comes, what should the Rockies do? They should definitely make Tulowitzki available. The definitive course of action depends on what the offers are.
There is a point at which it makes more sense for the Rockies to hold onto him and hope for internal improvements. That line is probably an offer that lacks a top-50 prospect. If the offers include top-50 prospects, the Rockies should trade Tulowitzki to add pitching depth and free up money to use on the pitching staff. Building for 2017 seems like the best thing to do. Luckily for the Rockies, there is no wrong answer. They can trade Tulowitzki for highly regarded prospects or hold onto him and retain one of the best shortstops in the game.
Edited by Emily Berman.
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