Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Tale of Tulo

In a night without marquee match-ups across Major League Baseball, unfortunate injury news takes precedence. While the Reds continue to fight for wins down the stretch of the regular season, a cloud formed over the game after yesterday's announcement in Colorado. Once again, Troy Tulowitzki will go under the knife. He's set to have surgery to repair a torn hip labrum, and will miss the remainder of the season.

Just weeks ago, trade rumors swirled around the All-Star shortstop at the deadline. We're talking about a Gold Glove winner at the sport's most important position, a player who leads Major League Baseball with a .340 average, and is capable of hitting 30 HR in any season. It's no surprise he's highly sought. However, the injuries are starting to pile up, and before we know it, Tulo will be on the wrong side of 30. Is his value on the decline?

Let's start by looking at the contract. We're talking about a guy who, starting in 2015, is owed $129 million over seven years. This basically limits his trade destinations to the biggest markets the league has to offer. In fact, only 10 Major League teams have a 2014 payroll of more than $129 million. When it comes to clubs that would realistically be able to take on that kind of deal, we're probably already down to the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Phillies, and Dodgers. That doesn't make life easy for Colorado, especially when they would seek a haul of prospects in return.

Now that we're down to five teams, we also have to address the injury concerns. Tulowitzki has all the talent in the world, but he flat out can not stay on the field. This is a guy that has only played over 130 games in three of his nine seasons. Here's a breakdown of just his major injuries:
  • 2008 - Left thigh strain
  • 2010 - Left wrist surgery
  • 2012 - Left groin surgery
  • 2013 - Right rib fracture
  • 2014 - Left hip surgery
Not only is that an ugly list for a 29 year old, but since he'll be rehabbing all off-season, it makes him nearly impossible to trade before next year. Now, Colorado has to pray he returns to form quickly, and that they can still deal him for a blockbuster package. Not only will buyers be wary of overspending, but they'll also be wary of getting $100+ million player that doesn't see the field (see: Alex Rodriguez). Those contracts can sink a franchise for a full decade (again, see: New York Yankees).

Case in point, the Mets were rumored to have offered star pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard in a package for Tulo at the deadline. While they would do almost anything to get a star bat, there were alternating reports that they weren't exactly eager to give up such a budding star, even when Tulo was healthy. Now? It's hard to imagine any GM would be willing to part with a top prospect for such an expensive question mark. If the Mets won't do it who will? It's quite realistic that Colorado has missed their chance at the best package they could get in return for the four-time All-Star. His talent is undeniable, but so are his injuries, and so is his paycheck.

Join Reds-Rockies tonight starting at 8:35 PM ET for more talk on the Tulo situation. Get in the game and voice your opinion!