Updates from Wednesday, July 30
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports any deal involving Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez is unlikely to be completed prior to the deadline:
The Rockies and Mets haven't gotten off the ground on talk about Colorado superstars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, so any chance to do a deal will likely have to wait for the winter.
"Unless we do speed dating, I think that's safe to say [that any deal will wait until winter]," one person involved in the limited talks said.
Updates from Monday, July 28
It is unrelated to his day trip, but those close to the shortstop say they believe that if Tulo is to be traded from the Rockies -- a team he loves in a city he loves -- the Yankees happened to be one of only a handful of teams he'd be happy to join.
Friends of Tulowitzki say that while he hasn't necessarily presented a list of pre-approved teams for trade, he does indeed love the history and winning tradition of the Yankees, that he'd love the idea of replacing his idol Derek Jeter, and that he'd happily look past the fact that his beloved No. 2 is taken (Jeter's number will be retired with him after this year) to accept a trade to the Bronx.
The St. Louis Cardinals expressed significant interest in him last offseason. They continue to reach out to the Rockies, as have the New York Mets, who are prepared to offer top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard in a deal for 29-year-old. And the response is: Not yet. We’re not ready to deal him. We want to hear it from him.
Passan added more on Twitter:
Which is why a hypothetical deal for Troy Tulowitzki for Syndergaard, perhaps Kevin Plawecki (whom Rox like), Montero, one more kid works.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 28, 2014
Big question with the Mets -- always the question with the Mets -- is whether the Wilpons are ready to spend for Tulo. That's still unclear.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 28, 2014
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News gave perspective on a potential deal from the Mets' point of view:
As for Syndergaard, as close to untouchable as #Mets have. For Tulo, you have to consider everything, but bet they'd try other offers first— Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) July 28, 2014
Updates from Thursday, July 17
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides comments from Troy Tulowtizki:
There is no doubt I heard the rumors,” said Tulowitzki, who started at shortstop and batted third for Matheny’s NL lineup. “There’s no doubt I talked to him about it. Until the team makes a move, I’m on the Rockies and I have to do everything I possibly can (for them)."
"I signed up to be with the Rockies longer than (Holliday) has ever done," Tulowitzki said. "For me it's about winning. Whatever gives me the best chance to win and that's where I want to be. I hope that is in Colorado.
Though the Colorado Rockies may be in the midst of a disappointing campaign, their All-Star shortstop is having the best year of his MLB career.
Troy Tulowitzki is a legitimate candidate for National League MVP, even while his club flounders. With 21 home runs and an eye-popping .345/.435/.613 slash line, only Mike Trout has accrued more Wins Above Replacement (WAR) among position players.
Nevertheless, the trade rumor mill has begun to swirl around the 29-year-old superstar. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that despite an increasing consensus that the Rockies should cash in on Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, team owner Charlie Monfort is resistant to dealing away his two stars:
While there’s been speculation that the Rockies could do something dramatic and deal Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki, one major league source indicated that “[owner Charlie] Monfort centers everything around Tulo and Cargo.” The feeling is Monfort would be hesitant to let his two stars go because of ramifications concerning ticket sales and TV ratings. “Those are legitimate concerns in that market,” said the source. “Cargo isn’t having a Cargo year. The Rockies have some other outfield pieces, but when Cargo is right there aren’t too many more exciting players in the game.”
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman echoed Cafardo's sentiment. Heyman suggested that although Tulowitzki has implicitly asked for a trade (or at least been amenable to the possibility), the Rockies remain resistant to dealing away the face of their franchise:
tulowitzki gives subtle blessing to rockies to look for trade. team not inclined to pull trigger. http://t.co/89H9R4pZ90— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 9, 2014
It's not difficult to understand why Colorado would seek to exhaust every option before opting for the trade route. Tulo's whopping .268 isolated power is not only the highest mark of his career, but it is also the sixth-best mark in baseball. At home, Tulowitzki has posted some of the best numbers in recent history:
#Rockies Tulowitzki is batting .433 at home. No one has finished with a higher home average since Larry Walker in 1999 (also Coors Field).— Sportsnet Ticker (@SportsnetTicker) July 10, 2014
His power is truly remarkable for a middle infielder. For reference, Tulowitzki's aforementioned .613 slugging percentage is 146 points higher than that of Hanley Ramirez, who holds the next-highest slugging percentage among shortstops. The gap between Tulo and Ramirez in slugging percentage is roughly equivalent to the separation between Ramirez and Derek Jeter, who ranks 22nd at the position.
Though many will decry Tulowitzki as a Coors Field creation, his .265/.367/.463 road slash line this season would still make him among the more valuable position players in the game, given position scarcity. Indeed, Tulowitzki has been a hitter without weakness this season:
Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki now has 6 seasons with 20 or more HR & he hits them when thrown inside/outside/down middle pic.twitter.com/9AuBi1XyUC— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 10, 2014
Nevertheless, Tulo's skills are not up for debate. But the Rockies do not appear close to contending; as FanGraphs' Mike Petriello argues, Tulowitzki's injury history is an important variable that has been forgotten amid the trade rumors:
But nearly as important: He’s healthy, and he’s months away from his 30th birthday. Tulowitzki has had five trips to the disabled list in his career, and innumerable bumps and bruises otherwise, including a few days missed this weekend with groin soreness. Despite that, he’s he’s managed at least 500 plate appearances in five different seasons. Still, rare is the player who enters their 30s and manages to become healthier.
Petriello also notes that despite Colorado's well-intentioned goals to remain viable postseason contenders, the Rockies' current roster is simply far too broken to expect sustainable success:
The idea of taking 90% of the same roster into next year, hoping for better health and continued unsustainable production over a long period, and making it a winner, seems unrealistic. And in the meantime, Tulowitzki will be 31 with plenty of additional opportunities to have seriously injured himself and destroyed his value. There’s also a near certainty he won’t be hitting as well as he is right now. Who could?
The short-term setback would be painful, but the Rockies could take solace in knowing that a trade could forge one of the game's best farm systems. ESPN's Keith Law (subscription required) ranked Colorado's farm system eighth in the preseason, while Baseball Prospectus ranked it 10th.
How likely are the Rockies to move Troy Tulowitzki at the deadline?
Tulowitzki would likely net a massive haul that may propel the Rockies into the top five of most organizational prospect rankings. Coors Field has often defied prospect evaluation, but there's an undeniable stream of talent headed to Denver in the near future.
Trading away the game's premier shortstop and a potential MVP rarely makes sense. However, given Colorado's dismal season and the tremendous amount of value they could extract, selling high on Tulowitzki must become a serious consideration.
*All stats via Fangraphs.com.