There were noises, ranging from murmurs to shouts, about Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Is he too injury prone? Is he a franchise player? Should the Rockies trade him since the team is going nowhere anyway? Little did we know how the first portion of 2013 would play out…
But now Tulo is hurt again and perhaps the noise will start again. There is, of course, the injury-prone conversation. But that’s not all. In Troy Renck’s article about the shortstop he alludes to the fact that “…some don’t like his personality, including a faction of Rockies’s fans…” This is a truly interesting development for a player who has zero issues off the field and embraced playing baseball in Colorado for his whole career in lieu of the chance to hit free agency and join a team in a bigger market. How did he become the target of discontent? Is it seriously just the injuries?
As for his most recent setback with a broken rib, Tulowitzki insists that his season will not be lost (from the Denver Post):
"“It doesn’t (seem fair). But at this point in my career, I’m mentally strong. I will roll with the punches. I’m not done. I will be back and stronger than ever.”"
Tulowitzki. Image: Bob Stanton – USA Today Sports
Renck opens the article by noting that Tulowitzki has not attempted a single stolen base in an effort to avoid unnecessary risks. You combine that with his willingness to take precautionary days off and you see a player who is aware of the fact that the Rockies need him.
Then you look at his production this season: .347/.413/.635. He also has a 1.048 OPS and a .996 fielding percentage at shortstop. Plain and simple, that is “best player in baseball” kind of stuff.
Let’s say he does come back from this injury and continue his torrid play for the rest of the season. Then you still have to look at the big picture. In the same article Renck alludes to the idea of Tulo switching positions, a topic often broached by analysts and writers. Others will once again wonder if the Rockies should trade Tulowitzki. About that…
…I would just like to debunk one myth about that theory. Video game trades don’t happen in real life. The idea that Tulowitzki could simply be traded for other star players is utterly fraudulent. You would trade him for a big package of prospects, probably to include blue chippers and possibly to include top-shelf pitching prospects. But if we know one thing by now in Major League Baseball, there is absolutely no way to guarantee those guys will pan out and reach their potential.
So that type of trade would be a gamble. If you’re asking me if I would rather gamble on that option or gamble on a determined Troy Tulowitzki and his chances to stay healthy enough to matter, I will gamble on Tulo every single time. He says he will be back and stronger than ever, and I am inclined to believe him.