The Cardinals have been long linked to Troy Tulowitzki; the team has also wanted to fill a major hole on the infield since Edgar Renteria left. Is it time for the Rockies to finally listen?
Tulowitzki was the 7th overall pick of the 2005 MLB Draft out of Cal State Long Beach. He came with a lot of hype; within 15 months of being draft, he was playing in the big leagues. Tulo was second in the NL Rookie of the Year in 2007. He was top 10 in MVP voting from 2009 through 2011.
The only concern for the 4 time All Star is health; he’s topped 130 games in 3 of his 9 seasons. He’s currently on the 15-day DL with a left hip flexor strain, which makes a deal for him before the deadline almost improbable.
It’s been rumored for weeks that Tulo wants out of Colorado; while he won’t publically say it, it’s been leaked from people close to the slugger. To make matter worse, the Rockies recently misspelled his name on a T-shirt giveaway.
The Rockies don’t want to deal him because he’s the face of the franchise; many believe that the shortstop could force a trade though if he doesn’t mind looking like the bad guy by wanting out. The team is apparently upset with Tulowitzki because he showed up at Sunday’s Yankees/Blue Jays game; speculation is that he’s did this to force the clubs hand. Tulowitzki claimed he wanted to see Derek Jeter play one last time.
The price would be huge, and reports are the Cardinals are willing to meet the Rockies demands; so are many other teams, including the Mets and Yankees. It’s reasonable to assume that any team with a deep farm system would be in on him.
Any deal would start with Oscar Taveras, and range from current players like Allen Craig or Matt Adams to prospects like Marco Gonzales and Rob Kaminsky. It’s reasonable to assume that the Rockies want either MLB ready players, or some that are close. A deal of Taveras, Craig, Gonzales, Stephen Piscotty, Eric Fornataro, and Rob Kaminsky would definitely get the deal done, but it would deplete the system as well.
There are also the financial implications. Tulowitzki signed a 10 year, $157.75M contract extension with the Rockies in 2010; he has $118M guaranteed left on the deal including a $4M buyout for his 2021 club option. There are also incentives in his contract:
· If he is traded, Tulowitzki receives and additional $2M.
· If he receives a certain amount of votes for MVP, Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers, and All Stars selections, his 2020 and 2021 salaries increase by $6M each year.
· $25,000 award bonus for each Gold Glove and All Star selection, among other awards.
The contract also says that he may be traded once, so if the team that trades for him wants to move him later on, he essentially has a no trade clause.
To afford this, the Cardinals might have to clear out some payroll. Allen Craig’s salary might be a start, but they’d have to move another couple of players. That wouldn’t normally be a big deal, but the Cardinals would have to rely on the system to bring in cost-effective players and they would have to trade the best, most ready players to make this deal.
There are centainly worse deals that the Cardinals could make (or have made, ask Mark Mulder). The organization is also smart enough that they could rebuild the system quick enough to off-set losing this much talent in a trade.
It just goes against what they have done under John Mozeliak. Ultimately, Mozeliak has been correct about which prospects to deal. The players traded for Matt Holliday never panned out, nor has Zack Cox with Miami. Colby Rasmus is a good player, but he wasn’t considered a prospect at the point he was traded.