Top 5 Suitors for Potential Troy Tulowitzki Blockbuster Trade
Listening to the men in charge and the player, the easy conclusion is Troy Tulowitzki will remain the long-suffering Colorado Rockies shortstop.
Suffering because the franchise has not had a winning season since 2010 and is nowhere close to being able to contend with National League West rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants or San Diego Padres. And Tulowitzki will remain so because he, the owner and the general manager have all come out publicly and shot down thoughts that Tulowitzki, the best shortstop in baseball, is seeking a trade or that they will even be willing to consider such a request.
GM Jeff Bridich went so far last week as to call the topic “a media production.” Owner Dick Monfort hung up on one Fox Sports reporter (Ken Rosenthal) for even broaching the subject and made it absolutely clear to another (Jon Morosi) that no such trade is unfolding and the franchise’s biggest star has not said he wants one.
“We’re not trying to trade him,” Monfort told Morosi. “There’s no story there.”
Behind the scenes, there have been different kinds of whispers. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported last week that people who “know” Tulowitzki hinted he would like to be traded to a team with a chance of winning, such as the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers or Los Angeles Angels.
The Rockies have waited long enough for Tulowitzki to be healthy and a significant part of a winning lineup. However, he and fellow star Carlos Gonzalez have been healthy all season and the Rockies are still terrible because too many other parts of the club—mainly pitching—have never been properly addressed by the organization.
The time has come for all sides to realize and accept that the best thing for the player and the Rockies is for Tulowitzki to be traded. He can finally take his elite game to a bigger stage and the Rockies can start a rebuild they so desperately need to become relevant again.
So, based on what Tulowitzki is reported to want, other teams’ needs and resources, here is a look at the shortstop’s top five suitors for a blockbuster trade that could reshape one or more of the postseason races.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers hoped Jimmy Rollins could be a bridge from former shortstop Hanley Ramirez to future one Corey Seager. But Rollins has struggled, and Seager has gotten sporadic starts at third base while in the minors this year.
“The idea is at some point, whether it’s this year or next year, to the extent that we have an injury and he’s our best option if he’s only played shortstop, that obviously limits him to an injury happening at that one position,” Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations, said via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Giving him reps at another position only helps him and helps us.”
That is likely the main reason the Dodgers are using Seager at the corner, but there is never not an underlying one for anything a baseball team does. And that could mean the Dodgers are possibly still interested in Tulowitzki, which would follow the feelers they sent out to the Colorado Rockies over the offseason.
As it stands, a deal with the Dodgers is not highly or even mildly likely. The Rockies could balk at trading him within the division, and the Dodgers don’t seem willing to part with Seager, Joc Pederson or Julio Urias—players it would take to even get the conversation started.
Then again, this is the Dodgers. Ownership is willing to pay to win, and based on how the Dodgers have hit lately—two runs over their previous five games before Friday—the possibility of a big shakeup should not be completely ignored.
4. New York Mets
This seemed like a potentially great fit for a blockbuster Tory Tulowitzki trade during the offseason. The Mets wanted a shortstop. Tulowitzki wants to play in New York. The Mets have the young players to make the Colorado Rockies drool.
But talks never really got off the gound over the winter, and now the Mets seem OK with keeping Wilmer Flores at the position for the time being. That is why GM Sandy Alderson did not flinch when asked about the idea of trading for Tulowitzki this season.
“Nothing has changed,” Alderson told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News last week.
However, with David Wright’s health a major concern and the Washington Nationals finally catching the Mets in the National League East standings, the Mets might be more willing to part with some of their controllable young pitching to land a bat like Tulo’s.
Such a deal would take time to pop, though. The Mets are more likely to wait out their offense at least until Wright and Travis d’Arnaud are healthy. If that does not work, then anything is possible here.
3. San Diego Padres
The Padres underwent a major overhaul over the offseason, but their offense still sits in the bottom half of the league despite adding Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers.
Considering what GM A.J. Preller has done to revamp this team and the baseball excitement in San Diego—plus the fact that the Padres are currently under .500—another eye-popping move is not a crazy thought.
The blockade comes when the Rockies look at what the Padres have to offer, which is not much since Preller used many of his best assets to make over the roster before Opening Day.
Then again, their shortstops are hitting .209/.290/.302, and primary shortstop Alexi Amarista is hitting .186. If the Padres are willing to gulp down nearly all of the $118 million Tulowitzki was owed at the start of this season, something could be pulled together to give them another stunning trade.
2. Washington Nationals
The Nationals know they will not re-sign shortstop Ian Desmond when he hits free agency after this season, and according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, GM Mike Rizzo has told the Colorado Rockies in the past that he would like to be included if trade talks for Tulowitzki became real.
Tie that to the fact that the Nationals appear to be in a divisional fight with the New York Mets for the top spot, and Rizzo might be able to pull the trigger.
The Nationals have the pieces and payroll to make the deal happen. While top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito is off limits, the Nats could part with outfielder Michael Taylor and/or pitchers A.J. Cole, Reynaldo Lopez and Erick Fedde.
If the Nationals are willing to take on more salary than others, they could certainly swing a package to land their future shortstop who might make them overwhelming favorites in the National League.
1. New York Yankees
Tulowitzki has idolized Derek Jeter since Jeter became Jeter. It is why Tulo wears No. 2, and as the game’s best at the position, he would be a fitting replacement for The Captain.
The Yankees have just replenished their farm system through recent drafts and international free agency. While it might not be wise for the Yankees to create a package using those players to fix the rotation, it could be beneficial if they use it to land Tulowitzki. He would be a long-term solution to their shortstop situation and would relish an opportunity to play in New York and take over for his favorite player.
And, of course, the Yankees could afford him. If they take on more money than others, they could snap up Tulo without completely draining their farm system.
That is a roster-management style the Yankees are trying to get away from, however. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote last week: “I have been told the Yankees are emphasizing defense and limiting long-term risk and are unlikely to play for Tulowitzki.”
But if the Yankees are at risk of missing a third straight postseason later in the year, they then become a viable landing spot.