Rockies fans, remain calm: Tulo trade is just a start
July 29, 2015
OK, the sound you heard late Monday night was a bunch of Colorado Rockies fans yelling a lot of things you can't say in a newspaper after their team dealt shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Now before all said fans go out and burn all the purple in the wardrobe, please consider the following.
During the Tulo Era, from 2006 to Monday, the Rockies have been 734-822. Frankly, I was surprised that record was that "good." (I thought the numbers would be worse.) Bottom line, Colorado's been pretty dreadful with Tulo, a span that included the 2007 team (90-73) and 2009 squad (92-70).
Tulowitzki is 30 years old and, though healthy this year, a major issue for him throughout his career, hasn't been overly productive. He's hitting .300 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs. Nice numbers, but nothing about which to write home, given that he plays half his games at Coors Field.
Tulo's played 140-plus games in a season only three of his 10 seasons, and the last time was in 2011. What's more, he's under contract through 2020 — when he'd be 35 — for $94 million.
As much as there is emotional attachment to Tulowitzki, it was time for him to go. Tulo is not going to get any better with productivity and/or health and the current model of building a team around Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez is just not working.
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If it makes you feel any better, I have no idea what the Blue Jays are doing. Toronto needs pitching, not more hitting. Looking at the World Series winners of the past 25 years or so, only one, the Anaheim Angels of 2002, have slugged their way to a title. (Still rather bitter about that Fall Classic, even after the Giants have won three of the last five.)
Pitching wins, and the Rockies have absolutely nothing in that department. The top of the rotation is Kyle Kendrick. He's 4-11 with a 6.33 ERA and has allowed 25 home runs in 112-or-so innings. That ain't good.
The Rockies got three minor-league pitchers — we'll get to shortstop Jose Reyes in a bit — in return for Tulo.
Jeff Hoffman was the ninth pick in the draft in 2014 and has overcome Tommy John surgery. (Who in baseball hasn't at this point? It's not the crisis it used to be.) He started the season at advanced single-A and was promoted to AA. This season, he's 3-3 with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP between the two levels.
Miguel Castro's gotten a cup of coffee with the Blue Jays this year, but he's worked his way through Toronto's system, averaging more than a strikeout an inning throughout his journey.
Jesus Tinoco is all of 20. He signed at 17 as a free agent. Yeah, he's a shot in the dark, but this is what the Rockies have to do.
The Rockies got a potential starter in Hoffman, a possible closer in Castro and a wild card in Tinoco. It's a start.
There is no guarantee that these guys from the Blue Jays are going to make it, but the more spaghetti one throws at the wall the better chance something is going to stick.
Don't get comfortable, Jose
And then there's Jose Reyes. At first, one thinks, why did the Rockies trade one aging shortstop for another? Good point, people. Please also remember that the Rockies took shortstop Brendan Rodgers with the third pick in June's draft. (This was a sign that Tulo was going to be traded and that following will happen.)
I doubt Jose Reyes ever wears a Rockies home uniform — Colorado's at Wrigley this week and is in St. Louis for the trade deadline on Friday. The Rockies are going to flip Reyes before the end of the week.
The storyline that makes the most sense is Reyes returns to the Mets. New York needs offense and has pitching. Jacob DeGrom or Matt Harvey is a pipedream, but Noah Syndergaard and/or Zach Wheeler aren't.
Here's another team to throw into the mix — the Los Angeles Dodgers. They need some pop from shortstop as Jimmy Rollins flails offensively. As long as there are pitching prospects in the offing, this deal will be done.
The next shoe
Reyes is likely having a brief stint in and the other shoe to drop is CarGo. He's CarGone by Friday or during the offseason. Just like Tulo, he's been healthy. Unlike Tulo, Cargo's numbers are better with a .278 average, 20 dingers and 51 RBI, and the Rockies owe him $37 million in 2016 and 2017.
Seriously, the Rockies could be taking $131 million off the books. (If you're going to stink, you might as well stink on the cheap, putting that money into draft pick bonuses and player development.) What's more, why would you be paying $131 million for hitting, if you're the Rockies? You can get hitters on the cheap because of Coors Field.
CBS Sports says the Angles, Mets and Orioles are interested in CarGo. Let them bid with pitching prospects.
After Darryl Kile, Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton all flopped as free-agent signings, no pitcher is ever going to sign with the Rockies. Colorado has to grow its own talent — particularly pitching — and the Tulo trade is a good start.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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