With the seventh pick in the 2005 MLB Draft, the Colorado Rockies selected a shortstop out of California State University Long Beach. His name was Troy Tulowitzki.
Known as "Tulo," Tulowitzki made his big league debut on August 30, 2006 with Colorado, at age 21. The rest, as they say, is history.
Tulowitzki has gone on to play in 961 games with the Rockies, recording 1,068 hits, 176 home runs, and four All-Star appearances, all while being a cornerstone in their lineup and also being known around the league as one of the better shortstops in baseball.
With rumors swirling of a possible trade of Tulowitzki, it is finally time for the Rockies to part ways with the shortstop this offseason. Because if they do not, it could really be a detriment to their team down the road, one that other teams, such as the Phillies, are starting to feel already.
Tulowitzki is locked up for the next six seasons on a $118 million deal. He is scheduled to make $20 million from 2015 to 2019, while deescalating his salary to "only" $14 million in 2020. This is the contract for a player that last made 600 plate appearances in 2011, for just the third time in his career.
When on the field, Troy Tulowitzki is fun to watch. Really fun. In 375 plate appearances this past season, "Tulo" had 107 hits, 18 doubles, a triple, 21 homers, and 52 runs batted in. That's in 91 games, ten more than half a season. Tulowitzki posted a 171 OPS+, the best in his nine year career.
But the injuries have kept Tulowitzki from being the stud that he is when on the field. He tore a labrum this past season, going under the knife for a second time in his career. And that isn't it. From 2012 through this past season, Tulowitzki missed 213 of 486 games due to injury (via Baseball Prospectus). In the past three seasons, 43.8 percent of the Rockies games have been without Tulowitzki due to injury.
It's time for the Rockies to make Tulowitzki's someone else's problem and deal him. The Yankees and Mets have reportedly been interested in acquiring Tulowitzki from the Rockies. Neither, however, have been able to divy-up the elite-level prospects that Rockies ownership has wanted for him.
The Rockies need to take what they can get for him. While playing in Denver is not good for his health, who's to say he would be a 100 percent healthy Tulowitzki somewhere else? The Rockies have been reluctant to give any team even the slightest bit of a discount due to his injury history.
The fact of the matter is, the Rockies are not contending within the next couple of seasons. If they can trade Tulowitzki at 75-85 percent of what he would be worth healthy, that would still get them a very nice package, one that would improve their farm system immensely, and almost immediately. They don't have to sell Tulowitzki at healthy price. And I'm not sure they have realized that.
A trade of Tulowitzki would not only help the Rockies. It would help Tulowitzki himself. Moving out of that Denver air, Tulowitzki would be able to play more games, condition at a higher level, and might just be able to have continued success for a lengthier amount of time. He wants to play for a winner, and the Mets, for one, are a lot closer to that than the Rockies are.
Taking a look at all the factors, a trade of Troy Tulowitzki is the right move. The young shortstop taken in that 2005 draft finally has to get out of Denver. And that should come this offseason.