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Troy Tulowitzki trade: Did the Rockies mishandle the behind-the-scenes portion of the deal?

Tulo was reportedly unhappy with the way the trade that sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays transpired. Is he right?

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we posted our discussion about what the Rockies should have done, or should do, with newly acquired shortstop Jose Reyes.

Today, we turn our attention to the shortstop the Rockies gave up before the deadline. Troy Tulowitzki reportedly did not appreciate the way the Rockies handled trading him, saying that he was told he'd be kept in the loop regarding any potential deals. Instead, Tulo was pulled in the ninth inning of a loss to the Chicago Cubs last Monday, completely caught off guard by what was about to happen.

Did Dick Monfort, Jeff Bridich and company mishandle the Tulo trade? Did they treat the longtime face of their franchise unfairly? The Purple Row staff recently talked about this and more.

Here's Part 2 of our trade deadline roundtable. While reading, keep in mind this isn't about who won the trade, but rather whether the Rockies handled it properly.


Drew Creasman: That Tulo quote. Ouch.

Tommy McCall: Which one?

Drew: He said that when he talked to Alex Anthopoulos, he might have sounded upset but that wasn't at him -- it was on "the Rockies side of things." He was shocked about that but is "all smiles" about being on a good team that wants him.

Drew: He essentially said he has no negative feelings for anyone but the Rockies and he is now excited about winning.

Ryan Freemyer: BUT WE DO WANT YOU, TULO.

Hendrik Kits van Heyningen: Did the Rockies really have to trade him the way they did?

Hendrik: Sure the deal was done, but why couldn't they have at least put on a face like they really cared that he knew what was going on so Tulo would leave with a good taste in his mouth?

Drew: Wasn't quite as bad as the Ubaldo Jimenez thing. Which is kinda like saying, "getting punched in the face isn't 'quite as bad' as getting kicked in the [redacted]."

Holly Paulsen: How do we know they didn't? Tulo being upset doesn't automatically mean the Rockies did something wrong.

Tommy: Because this is how the team trades its star players.

Hendrik: We know they didn't because Bridich even admitted that Tulo was blindsided by it.

Holly: But I don't necessarily think that means they did something wrong. We just don't have enough information -- and probably never will.

Hendrik: I think Tulo being seemingly quite pissed at the process is enough to know something wrong happened, especially with the way he cites how Monfort told him he would be kept in the loop.

Holly: Did Tulo say he was told that, or have we only heard it from media sources?

Bryan Kilpatrick: I would say there's enough history here to conclude that the Rockies don't handle trading star players well. I might have to go back and do some digging, but I recall there being a thing with Matt Holliday, too.

Holly: Well, they haven't actually traded all that many star players.

Ryan F.: Even Tulo admitted to being naïve about how the process really works, though.

Hendrik: Tulo definitely said something like "it's disappointing when you are told one thing and it doesn't happen," referring to being told he would be kept in the loop. That's basic PR.

Bryan: True, Holly. But there have been issues with all three they've dealt in a 6 1/2-year period

Tommy: You think they would've learned something after Ubaldo.

Holly: I don't think what they told or didn't tell Tulo is quite the same as PR. They certainly haven't bad mouthed him or anything to the public.

Drew: Even Dan O'Dowd has admitted that the Ubaldo thing was messed up, though he kind of attributed to the timing.

Holly: Actual PR stuff seems to have improved quite a bit.

Hendrik: I think it certainly falls under PR, and it makes the Rockies look bad.

Tommy: It has, Holly, but this trade seems to have been handled poorly.

Hendrik: It makes players like Nolan Arenado speak out.

Ryan Schoppe: Players like Arenado speak out on trades like this all the time.

Holly: Arenado spoke out about Tulo being traded at all. He would probably feel the same way regardless.

Hendrik: Sure, but you can't deny that there may have been a slight extra edge given the bad taste in his mouth that Tulo has.

Ryan S.: Any time a star is traded and you ask his teammates, you almost always get the response, "well I don't know who the prospects are, but I'll miss Player A."

Ryan S.: Which I just don't get, unless he was expecting special treatment and thankfully Bridich doesn't have to let Monfort give him that anymore.

Hendrik: I'll even concede that the Arenado example is not the best example, but I think this is terrible PR with all the articles on how what Tulo was promised wasn't held up.

Drew: Yep.

Ryan S.: What was Tulo promised? To be kept in the loop?

Hendrik: Yes, according to Tulo.

Ryan S.: Exactly -- according to Tulo.

Hendrik: I think it's pretty easy to believe him on this.

Ryan S.: But what does kept in the loop mean? That he thought he should be able to OK the trade (and thankfully Bridich didn't agree with that)?

Holly: Yeah, that's where I think I'm struggling. I'm not sure it's clear what Tulo's expectations were versus what was ever realistic -- or what the team's perception of Tulo's expectations were.

Hendrik: Why did they have to pull him out of the game in the bottom of the ninth?

Ryan S.: When a trade offer arises mid-game and is finalized before the end of the game, what do you do?

Hendrik: That was ridiculous.

Ryan S.: That's standard as soon as both parties agree.

Holly: You have to pull him when the trade is agreed to.

Ryan S.: Happens all the time.

Hendrik: Not to franchise icons...

Holly: I'm really not even sure that part of it has anything to do with why Tulo is upset.

Drew: At least 75 percent of it is him being pissed the team gave up on him at all.

Ryan S.: Tulo's upset because he though Monfort was calling the shots and when Bridich did his job the best that he could, the situation didn't allow him to get special treatment. This trade happened by the book.

Drew: Books are dumb.

Ryan S.: Unless they are comic books...

Holly: I wouldn't say "gave up on him" is an accurate description. Gave up on winning with him, sure, but not due to him as a player.

Hendrik: Do you really think that the Rockies handled this trade well from a PR perspective? I don't care if it's by the book; frankly, Tulo deserved at least some special treatment given his value to the franchise, and he especially should have gotten it after the Rockies promised to keep him in the loop.

Ryan S.: Yeah, the only bad news that coming out is Tulo being upset he didn't get special treatment.

Drew: I am fairly certain that is how Tulo sees it, though, Holly. And several of the other players too. And they are right. This trade shows they gave up on the identity of this team.

Ryan S.: And they should have...

Drew: Fair enough.

Ryan S.: Even with this offense health, it wasn't enough.

Drew: I'm just saying that is how they see it.

Holly: Isn't pulling a player out of the game kind of the rule once a trade goes through? I don't think the Rockies could have kept him in even if they wanted to. But I don't know for sure.

Ryan S.: And that's fine, I really don't care that much that Tulo's upset. He got uprooted from his home. It's expected for him to be upset about this stuff.

Hendrik: It is a rule, but I'm saying they could have not fully finalized the deal.

Drew: The one thing you've got to be careful of, though, is developing a reputation as a team that doesn't deal honestly with its players.

Ryan S.: For us to act like that's not normal given the situation is bizarrel.

Hendrik: Yeah, Drew, that's exactly what I mean.

Tommy: Yeah that would be a [redacted] look.

Holly: I suppose they could have held off, but I still don't think that's a part of why Tulo is upset. If the trade had been final the second the game ended, I don't think he'd feel any differently.

Drew: Inter-player relations have been an issue with this team. Hurts in free agency, etc. I also don't like the report that a deal with the Mets didn't happen because Bridich couldn't deal with those guys. You need to be able to deal with anyone.

Hendrik: This team has done so many things that have left players with a bad taste. Thankfully, they have been far better this year than the Monfort iPad-riddled 2014 travesty.

Ryan S.: On one hand you have the Mets didn't work because of Bridich. But I've also heard the Mets didn't work because Tulo didn't want to go there, and also that it was just the Mets not wanting to give up what Bridich wanted.

Holly: There's no way to know whether it's the Mets' problem or the Rockies'. They also seem to be unreasonable about what they need regardless of anything to do with the Rockies.

Hendrik: Possibly related: the Rockies do have a history with calling out their own players. Remember O'Dowd talking about Fowler?

Holly: DOD certainly did that a couple times (not always by name). But so far Bridich hasn't done anything like that.

Hendrik: I'm not saying Bridich has continued O'Dowd's terrible trend of dumping on the work ethic of players he wants to trade, which is probably the most mind-boggling thing that O'Dowd ever did, but the way Tulo was handled here makes me cringe.

Ryan S.: I think that's the big thing I'm trying to point out, is everything that everyone is getting upset with is pretty much handled the same way with almost every single team (other than DOD's issues). We just don't care about it because it's not our team.cIt's why you hear players talk all the time about having to remind themselves that baseball is still a business.

Drew: I bet when Bridich talked on the phone Tulo, he remembered that is isn't JUST a business.

Drew: I have to go eat wings and drink beers and drown in sorrow.

Tommy: I think the Rockies handled the trade OK from a regular MLB standpoint, but they are wrong if they didn't keep him informed. If they just dropped this on him, then that's a little screwed up, if they had an agreement to do so.

Hendrik: Bridich would likely claim (as he did) that the trade went 0-60 so quickly, and that nobody had time to inform anyone. That may be true, but it still doesn't give him a pass for a player of Tulo's stature.

Ryan S.: The trade had been discussed on and off for months, though the actual transaction once they decided to go this time did probably take place quickly because they already did so much background work.

Holly: I don't think he needed to inform Tulo in the midst of the major negotiations immediately before/during the game (especially with Tulo preparing/playing). I do agree that if they had chatted briefly (even if nothing serious) in previous months/over the offseason with Toronto as he said, Tulo should have been told that.

Holly: Though I suppose we don't know for sure he didn't. Just that Tulo didn't know a trade was actually going to happen before it did.

Hendrik: But Holly and Ryan, out of curiosity, do you think the Rockies come out of this looking good, even if what they did was by the book?

Holly: I honestly care less about whether they "look" good than I do about the truth. Sometimes even if you do everything right, you aren't going to be able to control how you "look" to the media or public.

Holly: Not saying they did everything right, just that we don't know, and how things are being portrayed doesn't necessarily indicate one way or the other.

Hendrik: How they look impacts a number of things though, especially players' willingness to come here in free agency.

Ryan S.: That's so completely overblown; within a week or two, no players outside of Tulo and his closest firends will care/remember what happened.

Holly: Sure, Hendrik, but they also have the opportunity to actually talk person to person with players/agents. And like I said, it's still not always possible to completely control media/public narrative. There's absolutely a possibility they could do more, I don't really know.

Charlie Drysdale: I don't understand the criticism Bridich is receiving. What was he supposed to do, call Tulo up in the middle of the game and let him know what was happening? Does he pull him from the field in the top of the ninth and say, "Hey Tulo, I've got this thing going with the Blue Jays that looks promising. What do you think?"

Charlie: Seems like things escalated rather quickly (insert Anchorman gif) and they pulled him as soon as things got serious.

Jay Milnes: That was my thought as well. Circumstances were unfortunate (in the middle of an away game), but it is what it is and those circumstances were out of anyone's control.

Tommy: Good point, Charlie.

Hendrik: As Ryan said, there is no way there hadn't been any talks with the Jays before Monday, so there should have certainly been a chance to keep Tulo in the loop per his agreement with Monfort.

Ryan S.: And that's why I doubt Tulo didn't know the Jays were a possibility.

Hendrik: His comments made it seem that way...

Ryan S.: He might not have been kept in the loop about this particular trade.

Hendrik: Basically end of story, the Rockies seemed to have reneged on what they promised Tulo. You can argue that it was unwise for Monfort to promise what he did anyway, and that it's not Bridich's job to deal with that.

Ryan S.: Yeah, Monfort promised something that he couldn't deliver on, because in cases like this it's pretty much impossible.

Hendrik: But they ended up dealing their franchise player while creating a bad taste in Tulo's mouth, and that is unfortunate.

Ryan S.: That last part is on Troy to realize the circumstances.

Hendrik: Troy was perhaps naïve about the whole process, but that doesn't excuse Dick for making a promise he couldn't keep -- and one that makes Bridich look bad for doing his job.

Sage Farron: Heh. I disagree with every single one of you at least once in the Tulowitzki discussion above. I was going to respond but I don't think I can; it'd have to be an article. LOL.

Holly: Well, at least you're balanced!

Sage: I'm a radical moderate.

Hendrik: Summarize your point of view?

Sage: My view, tl;dr: Based on what we know, I feel the team handled the trade just as they should have from the top down, including the PR perspective, in the sense that a move like this will almost never be allowed to be "good PR" by the media. I do not feel that Tulowitzki should be upset for any reason other than Ryan's point about just generally being uprooted. Same goes for the players; if they see this as a betrayal of team identity, than they lack any sense of realism and while that's definitely the team's problem by proxy, it doesn't mean that attitude should be catered to for the same reasons that you should cater to MiLB players being made they're not being promoted as fast as they think the should. As for Monfort, I stand by that people got way too upset over the stupid iPad thing last year.

Drew: This is the worst part of this to me in the long-term. The people who believed this version of the team would never compete can never be proven wrong.

Holly: That goes both ways, though. Nobody can ever be proven right or wrong about something that doesn't have the chance to get tried. If they didn't trade him, the other side wouldn't get that chance.

Drew: That side will always feel more vindicated though, because by making this move, management caved to that idea.


What are your thoughts on the situation? Let us know in the comments.