MLB: Is the Troy Tulowitzki Era Over In Colorado?

The news of losing Troy Tulowitzki has many people up in arms, as many are wondering if this is the last time he will be in a Colorado Rockies uniform.

The many years of losing have caught up to Tulowitzki. After being the best player on two Rockies playoff teams (2007, 2010), he has been a part of four straight losing seasons.

At the age of 29, Tulowitzki is in the prime of his career. Unfortunately for Colorado, playing for a contender might be his next move.

When asked about his future with the franchise, Tulowitzki stated that he was happy in Colorado, but also mentioned if the right trade came along he would certainly welcome it.

Speculation of his unhappiness in Colorado grew when he showed up to a Yankees game as a spectator. Is it possible that Tulowitzki could have his heart set on playing for another team?

If it is possible, would the Rockies be willing to trade him?

In the wake of Tulowitzki’s injury, the team has used Josh Rutledge as its primary shortstop. Rutledge currently possesses a .258/.310/.403 slash line for the season. In addition to Rutledge, the team will also give Charlie Culberson some time at the position.

It is unknown if Colorado views either as the heir apparent to Tulowitzki. If neither can replace Tulowitzki, the team could choose to use its farm system to replace the four-time all-star.

Currently, Colorado has very few prospect infielders to replace Tulowitzki.

The most likely candidate would be former first-round pick Trevor Story. Story had a successful first year in 2012. The next year saw Story saw his statistics falter due in part to his high strikeout rate.

However, his 2014 line of .332/.436/.582 at Single-A Modesto suggests he might be on the right track. Story is currently at AA Tulsa.  Another option could be Rosell Herrera.

Herrera is currently batting .244/.302/.335 for the 2014 season. Herrera is a 21-year-old shortstop playing with Single-A Modesto. Herrera is very raw, but according to scouts, he could develop into a solid hitter.

The team does not have to necessarily go in house for to replace Tulowitzki.

The Rockies organization has come out and said that a Tulowitzki deal would take “the deal of the century.” A player of Tulowitzki’s caliber would require top talent. With uncertainties and injuries at numerous positions, the Rockies might be wise to trade Tulowitzki for the right package of players.

If Tulowitzki is replaced, the team has a solid core of young players to build around. Colorado boasts a heap of talent including third baseman Nolan Arenado, catcher Wilin Rosario and young pitcher Johnathan Gray. The team can also rely on all-star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez as its main offensive weapon.

While it might be a slight rebuild if the team trades Tulowitzki, Colorado does have some hope with their current crop of talent.

The question with a potential trade would be, are you willing to give up top talent for a player that many deem “damaged goods?”

Tulowitzki signed a ten-year, $157.75 million contract with the Rockies before the 2010 season. The deal keeps him under team control until 2020. Most teams in baseball would have no issue taking on that deal. However, the risk with Tulowitzki is that has been on the disabled list six times in six years.

If you’re judging a player based solely on talent, then yes, Tulowitzki is worth the money. He has eclipsed 25 home runs four times in his career, and has a great eye at the plate. He has an amazing career OBP of .373.

In addition to his offense, Tulowitzki is also a gold glove-caliber defender. He has won the award twice in his career. The shortstop has also earned praise from players such as baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. The 2015 free agent class is fairly short on shortstops. Aside from all-star Hanley Ramirez, there isn’t one franchise-type shortstop available, and when healthy Tulowitzki is a franchise shortstop.

Tulowitzki’s best season came in 2011, when he had career highs in home runs (30), RBI’s (105) and hits (105). The 2011 season was only the third time in Tulowitzki’s nine-year career that he was able to play in at least 140 games.

Tulowitzki could be an intriguing trade candidate for any team in need of help at middle infield.

Power-hitting shortstops are not a premium in baseball. A player like Tulowitzki is Colorado’s best trade chip. The Rockies aren’t going to make a run with an often hurt player. If they traded him, the team will almost certainly be looking at a partial rebuild.

However, on Tulowitzki’s end, he might finally be able to play for a contender during the prime years of his career.

Tulowitzki’s talent is simply be too much to pass up for some teams.  If Tulowitzki is healthy, he might be the missing piece that a contending team needs to win it all.

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