The Colorado Rockies are a franchise at a crossroads. After being out of the race for a few seasons now, the Rockies decided to finally make an organizational change, and have embraced new front office staff and philosophies. With new front office staff usually comes many new players, but sometimes a franchise may hold onto their current stars to build around them. This is the decision the Rockies’ face regarding OF Carlos Gonzalez, and SS Troy Tulowitzki this off season. The team can either build around these oft-injured stars, or try and trade them now while they are still have years left on their contract, and their value is high.
Before this off season, Gonzalez and Tulowitzki were mentioned as “untouchable” players that the Rockies would never
think about trading. Now, with a new General Manager and direction, the idea is being tossed around. To me, this signals that the Rockies are looking to move one, if not both of the players this off season. My thinking is, “why not?” Gonzalez and Tulowitzki are dynamic talents when they are healthy, but each has missed significant playing time over the past three seasons. When these players are hurt, they are essentially just taking up payroll, and handcuffing the team financially from making any improvements.
If either were to be traded, I’d have to believe it would be Tulowitzki, who has previously voiced his displeasure about the Rockies’ lack of talent, and would bring the most value back in a trade. When he’s healthy, Tulowitzki is one of the best shortstops in baseball. Of course, there would be a number of teams interested, but I’d have to believe that the only real contenders for his services are the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Atlanta Braves. These teams are not only teams with a need at the shortstop position, but also are the only teams that have any prospects of value that would interest the Rockies.
First, I believe the most logical landing spot would be the Yankees. Obviously, SS Derek Jeter will be gone next season, so there is a meteoric-sized hole to fill. Plus, with young talent in their minor leagues, and some young talent on the Major League roster, the Yankees would be able to put together a package that should entice the Rockies. However, I don’t think it’s the best package they could get for Tulowitzki. The most value they could receive would be from either the Chicago Cubs or New York Mets, who currently boast some of the better farm systems in baseball. Each team would be able to offer Colorado some pitching prospects that the team definitely needs. Overall, if the Rockies move Tulowitzki, I would expect it to be to one of those six teams, for a package of 3 top prospects, or Major League ready talent.
On the other hand, Gonzalez may be a hard piece for the Rockies to move. Despite being a valuable player when healthy, Gonzalez posted career-worst numbers in 2014 while again battling injuries. I think the best move for the Rockies would be to hold onto Gonzalez until he proves that he is healthy, and then trade him at the Trade Deadline when his value is higher. While I’m sure there are a number of teams currently interested, I don’t think the Rockies would be able to receive the caliber of players they would want in return for Gonzalez.
All in all, I believe both players’ time with the team is short. I believe the Rockies will go the rebuilding route, looking to acquire as much young talent as possible for their veterans.