In one of the best scenes from one of the best shows in television history, tough guy Mike Ehrmantrout has this to say to science teacher-turned-meth-kingpin Walter White:
The moral of the story is, I took a half measure when I should have gone all the way. I'll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter.
For several years, the Rockies took half measure after half measure when it came to choosing a direction for the franchise. They signed Michael Cuddyer, and then traded Dexter Fowler for Jordan Lyles. The grabbed Justin Morneau, and proceeded to leave Dan Winkler unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. It seemed as if the team could not decide whether to try to build a team to contend now around Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, or one to contend in the future around the likes of Nolan Arenado and Jon Gray.
This time, with his first major move as Rockies general manager, Jeff Bridich went all the way. He took a full measure and traded Tulowitzki along with reliever LaTroy Hawkins to the Toronto Blue Jays for shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco.
There is now more clarity to the Rockies plans than there has been in quite some time, at least since 2013 when the club promoted Arenado to the big leagues and drafted Gray. Losing Tulo is a punch in the gut, no doubt about it, but knowing that Bridich has a plan, and having some clarity as to what that plan is, is a relief.
With Reyes, the lone veteran acquired in the Tulo trade, seemingly not in the team's long-term plans and Gonzalez already rumored to be following Tulowitzki out the door, the Rockies have now clearly set their sights on building a contender a couple years down the road.
Make no mistake, this is the end of an era, the age of Tulo and CarGo is over, whether the latter is traded by Friday's deadline or not.
On the other hand, this is also the beginning of a new era, one that will be defined by the likes of Arenado, Gray, Hoffman, David Dahl, Trevor Story, Raimel Tapia, Ryan McMahon, even 2015 first rounders Brendan Rodgers and Mike Nikorak. That is the group, along with a few others (Eddie Butler, Corey Dickerson, etc.) that will form the core of the next Rockies winner.
The move is a bit reminiscent of the last time the Rockies traded a player of Tulo's caliber, when they sent Larry Walker to the Cardinals in 2004. Trading Walker was, like trading Tulo, a commitment to a rebuild for the Rockies, one centered around guys like Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe, Garrett Atkins, Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis. Three years later, that group led the Rockies to the World Series.
The Rockies are arguably in a better place now than when they made the move with Walker 11 years ago. Remember that they retained 30-year-old Todd Helton through the rebuild because they needed a face of the franchise to draw fans to Coors Field through the growing pains. This time, that face is Arenado, a 24-year-old who is part of the core they are rebuilding around, not a veteran along for the ride.
Moving Tulo isn't just a trade, it's a paradigm shift, and one that, as much as it hurts, needed to happen. Before the season, Rockies manager Walt Weiss told The Denver Post's Patrick Saunders to expect changes if things didn't work out this year. The Rockies are 42-55, things haven't worked out, and the changes are here.
It seems the Rockies' Walter knew something Breaking Bad's Walter didn't, that a half measure wouldn't cut it anymore.