Welcome to the fifth Purple Row edition (and 110th overall) of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I'm thinking about buying the world a coke for some reason. Let's get into it...
Shortly after my blog went up last week, a real bombshell dropped when it was reported that Troy Tulowitzki may or may not ask for a trade at some point in the future. A true stunner indeed! He and his agent were going to eat breakfast and have a conversation. Drop everything, folks!
The hottest of takes flowed freely across the interwebs. Suitors! Contract talk! Big Markets! Rebuilds! Prospects! DeflateGate! ...wait that last one doesn't apply.
Then Tulo was like Nah, I'm cool.
Then Rockies' GM Jeff Bridich was like The media is dumb.
Then the media was like Nuh-Uh.
It was a really fascinating few days.
Drew Creasman has already provided lots of level-headed insight on this topic 'round these parts, mostly consisting of reasons why it makes sense for the Rockies to keep Tulo. Most others in the sports world seem think the Rockies should trade him. I've spent quite a bit of the past week debating this topic with myself while pretending to work, so I figure now is a fine time to throw my two cents into the conversation.
Look, at this point I really understand the people that think the Rockies need to trade Tulowitzki. And I understand the point of view of those that think the Rockies should hold on to him. And yes, I realize that outlook makes for a tremendously lukewarm take, but it's where I'm at with the whole thing.
What has frustrated me about much of the conversation (both nationally and locally) surrounding the possibility of trading Tulowitzki is the sentiment that the Rockies should trade him "just because". There's this conversation of "Welp, they're bad again. I guess they better send Tulo to a big market."
The thing about Troy Tulowitzki is... he's really good. He's a middle-of-the-order masher that plays gorgeous defense from the most important position on the field. Nobody else in the game does that. This makes Tulowitzki an incredibly valuable asset. And that value means the Rockies absolutely can not trade Tulo unless the package they receive in return turns Bridich's face into the emoji with hearts for eyes. (If the Mets offer a package with Noah Syndegaurd, Steven Matz, and say... Matt Harvey, I think you probably have to pull the trigger. If the Yankees are saying "Hey we're the Yankees and we're in New York and Derek What'sHisName retired so can we have him? We'll give you Didi Gregorious!" I think you probably stand pat.)
I don't buy the angle that the market is down because of Tulo's mediocre start. Baseball people know how good Tulowitzki is. It's a matter of time before he starts putting crazy numbers again.
The two things that may make buyers hesitant to pull the Tulo-trigger are his health and his contract. Tulowitzki began 2015 with six seasons and $118 million left on his contract. And I don't have to tell you how he's struggled to stay on the field.
Still, if Tulo stays relatively healthy this year (he seemed to move fine last night after missing a couple games with quad-tightness), I think a team in the playoff hunt that needs a big bat and an upgrade defensively at shortstop will be willing to take that risk and part with some young talent. Will the contract be an issue? Probably, though it depends on the buyer. Frankly, it's hard to see the Rockies agreeing to eat any of Tulo's contract. (Unless the package in return turns Bridich's face into a series of like three heart-eyed emojis).
But a healthy Tulowitzki is the best player in the National League. So the only way a buyer gets burned by trading for Tulo is if he misses substantial time in the future. And that's pretty much impossible to predict. But, make no mistake, the value is there. And there's no doubt Bridich understands this.
It is tremednously difficult to win a trade when you lose one of the game's best players.
You can't trade Tulowitzki because you want him to have a good career on a winning team. You can't trade him because the national media would prefer that he's in a bigger market. You can't trade him because the team has had an awful three-week stretch. He's way, way too valuable for any of that.
If you trade Tulowitzki, you have to enter all-out, blow-it-up mode and truly rebuild. Dump salary. Acquire assets. Get younger. Lose 100 games. Whatever. You don't try to contend this year. You don't try to contend next year. You start over. You start completely over.
And while this can sound unappealing to fans for obvious reasons, this might be the route the Rockies need to take. Things are not working. They haven't worked since 2010. The 2015 Rockies' have shown zero signs of growth and provided zero reasons for optimism. (Though I'm convinced they're not as bad as they've looked the past few weeks. And, again, a few weeks does not provide basis for making a franchise-changing decision.)
And that, my purple-clad friends, is what this all comes down to. That's the key decision for Jeff Bridich and (unfortunately) Dick Monfort. Do they think the Rockies have any shred of a realistic(!) chance to contend in 2016? If they do, there are legitimate, unsentimental, baseball reasons keep Tulowitzki, one of the greatest players in baseball since 2007.
If they don't, then it's time to pull the plug on the Rockies as we know them. It's time to light the fuse and blow everything up and put a real-life plan for the future in place. Get rid of Carlos Gonzalez; Justin Morneau, Drew Stubbs, Kyle Kendrick, LaTroy Hawkins, Jorge De La Rosa. Dump 'em all.
Completely reconstruct the roster. Build around Nolan Arenado, Corey Dickerson, Eddie Butler, Jordan Lyles, the many minor leaguers already in the Rockies system that could turn into impact players, and the (better be) impressive haul that a Tulo trade lands you. The cupboard on the Rockies' farm system is far from bare. Are those players reinforcements for the Rockies as the roster is currently set up? Or are they building blocks for the future?
That's all up to Jeff Bridich, not me. But I do think that needs to be Bridich's mindset. Can a Gonzalez-and-Tulowitzki-led team contend in 2016? Or does he burn his purple and black circus tent to the ground and try to lay the foundation for a new building?
And it's probably a good thing I'm not the one making this decision because I certainly CAN NOT MAKE UP MY DAMN MIND.
Now we proceed to the weekly departments...
Stud(s) of the week:
Yes, this Giancarlo Stanton homer is nice and he's good and stuff. But see if you can check out the catch the fan makes. It's amazing.
I know it's hard to get a good look at that, so here's a snippet of the catch in GIF form (via Deadspin). One-handed, leaning over the railing from like 500 feet away and 30 feet up. Absolutely awesome. I know I put a lot of silly fan foul ball catches in here, but this one is just awesome. Wish there was better video of it.
Ass of the week:
Check out this absolutely hysterical game-losing play from Gregory Palanco. Tie game. Bases loaded. One out. (I'm pretty sure the music was added later, but it might have been playing in his head, too.)
How awesome would it have been if he successfully barehanded it once his legs started to crumble into several pieces?
Vine of the week:
Nolan Arenado's reaction to striking out against Clayton Kershaw is one way to get tagged out.
Tweet of the week:
This is an interesting haircut.
#NYR haircut from @ThatJoeBarber featuring @ChrisKreider! pic.twitter.com/b2r5Xonqi9— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 14, 2015
Could you imagine rolling into work like that?
Some other stuff the internet had to offer:
Chris Paul intentionally fouling Dwight Howard had me laughing pretty hard.
Here's something I could totally do if I wanted to but I just don't feel like it.
Looked like a travel to me, but whatevs.
A couple links I enjoyed this week:
- You should really, really read this story on Steve Kerr's upbringing.
- ESPN The Magazine's Wright Thompson (he's good) went longform on the struggles of Ted Williams' only surviving child.
- A timely read with the NBA Draft Lottery tonight. Chris Ballard's longform on the Draft Lottery of 1985 and the ensuing conspiracy theories.
And finally, I hope you've been watching the last couple weeks' worth of Letterman shows. After 33 years, his final show is tomorrow night. There have been some really cool moments as some "friends of the program" have stopped by recently. Some favorites...
An emotional Adam Sandler:
An almost-crying Norm Macdonald:
And this Tom Waits song that hit me RIGHT IN THE FEELS!
Really good stuff if you're into that kind of thing. The next couple nights should be interesting.
Happy Tuesday, everybody. Have a fun Memorial Day Weekend. (I may or may not have a shorter/belated post a week from today depending on how my long weekend goes). Thanks for readin'. See ya next week.
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