The Colorado Rockies don't need to trade Troy Tulowitzki in order to build a contending team in the near future. And, if general manager Jeff Bridich's recent comments to The Denver Post are any indication, they don't plan to trade him anyway.
There are enough other moves that could be made that would allow the team the chance to get better while still keeping an impressive infield core that includes Tulowitzki, Nolan Arenado and DJ LeMahieu. Carlos Gonzalez, John Axford, Wilin Rosario, Nick Hundley, LaTroy Hawkins and even Charlie Blackmon come to mind as players the club could try to deal. There's also enough talent on the farm for the Rockies to supplement their roster that way, even if not this year.
But, if the Rockies do decide to make Tulowitzki available as July 31 approaches, they might be in a better position to get a great haul for him than they were just a month or two ago.
Here's my line of thinking: the team's ability to keep Tulowitizki and still set themselves up for a better future took a hit when Justin Morneau, whom the team failed to sell high on last offseason, suffered a concussion that has kept him out of the majority of this season. That alone wouldn't -- and shouldn't -- make the Rockies feel like they need to deal the face of their franchise, but other factors have come into play since then.
The future of the team's rotation looked pretty bright at the beginning of this season, when homegrown talents Tyler Matzek, Eddie Butler and Jon Gray -- in addition to Jordan Lyles -- were coming off of strong seasons and/or big steps forward in their development as pitchers. That, along with the return of a healthy Jhoulys Chacin, was enough to realistically believe that the pitching staff wasn't too far away from coming together and turning into one of the better units in club history.
We all know what has happened since then. Butler, beginning today, has a chance to reassert himself as an arm the club can depend on. Gray might not be too far off. But Matzek is currently away from baseball, Lyles is out for the season with another freak injury and Chacin was released during spring training -- a decision on which the jury is still out.
Simply put, I could be talked into Operation: Blow it Up a lot easier now than before the season. That's where Tulowitzki comes in.
After going 2-for-3 with a walk and a home run in the Rockies' 5-3 loss to the San Diego Padres on Saturday, Tulo is hitting .318/.361/.492 and is in the midst of a 40-game on-base streak. The 30-year-old slugger is getting closer to reaching his career slash line despite a -- let's be honest -- pathetic showing during the first two months of the season.
And, about those big elephants in the room? Tulo is on pace to play 145 games this season, and the $98 million left on his deal after this season looks like a relative bargain due to his newfound ability to stay healthy.
Of course, that could all go away with one muscle tweak or tendon strain, which is even more of a reason why now might be the time to ship Tulo out of Denver. But the Rockies don't need to do that.
What Jeff Bridich and his staff need to do, however, is take an honest look at their roster and decide the Rockies' position heading into the deadline, something the club has failed to do in almost every previous season. Enough with the identity crises.
Is the team's 9½-game deficit in the NL Wild Card standings surmountable? Bolster the roster -- specifically, the pitching staff. Is it too much to overcome given all of the team's glaring holes, a problem that has manifested itself over and over again in recent years? Then it's time to start making some changes, especially given that there will be many teams in a position to buy at the deadline.
Standing pat, though, isn't an option. Not with this roster. And definitely not with this rotation.