The Colorado Rockies faced an intriguing and potentially franchise-altering question this off-season: should they trade star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki?
As it turns out, that decision has likely been made for them by their franchise player’s most recent injury.
With the news that Tulowitzki will undergo season-ending hip surgery, trade suitors will understandably be far less inclined to pursue a deal. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes about the dilemma for interested teams like the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, or St. Louis Cardinals:
Tulowitzki is owed $118 million through 2020, a risky contract for any player entering his 30s, let alone one who has been hurt so often. In order to sell a trade to their fans, the Rockies would need to acquire top prospects (for a reference point, GM Dan O’Dowd and his lieutenants were poking around Mets phenom Noah Syndergaard late last month, and would surely require several other players, too).
Would any team want to take on that money, and sacrifice significant talent, for a star while he attempts to return from hip surgery – which came despite the extraordinary precautions, like postgame ice baths and nights sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber, with which he experimented?
All of this is not necessarily to say that it will be impossible for the Rockies to trade Tulowitzki this off-season. Rather, this series of events has created a scenario where teams are going to low-ball the heck out of the Colorado front office because any offers will be for a shortstop with a bum hip.
If the Rockies want to get more than thirty cents on the dollar for their franchise player, they will have to wait until a later date to get serious about dealing him.
It seems hard to imagine that a 5.7 WAR (wins above replacement) player would garner only low-ball offers this winter, but that is exactly the case with Tulowitzki thanks to his most recent injury.