Could this finally be the off-season that the Colorado Rockies trade either Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez as the MLB Hot Stove heats up?
The report is a small surprise only in that prior to tonight, owner Dick Monfort has always been adamant that the superstars would be staying in Denver for at least the length of their contracts, if not through their entire careers. But now, with the Rockies coming off a franchise worst season of 66-96 and with a new regime in charge, the team may be forced to make some major moves to change the direction of the franchise.
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Though the Rockies are open to listening, this does not mean either of the superstars will be moving out of Denver soon. Rosenthal notes that the Rockies will not be taking a discount on either of the players and will move the two “only for returns that would reflect their contributions when healthy.”
This is an important factor because of the injury woes that plague both players. What will teams be willing to give up for superstars who have not shown they can play a full season in the major leagues?
For Tulowitzki, the value is there even though he can’t stay healthy. In 91 games this season he had a 5.1 WAR, good enough to be in the top 30 of major league players who played the entire season. He led the category for much of the season even after his injury.
In those 91 games, Tulo was the best player in the game and that shouldn’t be discounted. The Rockies cannot be hasty to move a player at this elite of a level no matter the injury concerns, especially one under contract through 2020.
In Gonzalez there is a different animal. The Rockies have pushed their hand in the outfield by extending a qualifying offer to Michael Cuddyer earlier this week. If he accepts, the Rockies sit with four outfielders for three positions.
Of course, they could enter the season with four outfielders but it’s incredibly rare for a team to put a $15 million outfielder on the bench to pinch hit and play first base from time to time. So, if they intend to move Gonzalez, the Rockies may have to take a discount. He’s only played 130 games twice in his career, he’s due up for a new contract two years sooner than Tulowitzki, and the Rockies have clear overstock at the position making his employment redundant in a lot of areas.
The rise of Corey Dickerson may have played a role in this as well. If Dickerson can be the elite power hitting outfielder the Rockies want in their lineup, why keep the more expensive option? Dickerson hit .312/.364/.567 in 131 games with the Rockies this season with 24 home runs. He’s clearly ready for a starting role and if the team is going to give $15 million to Cuddyer, that leaves Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez as the odd men out.
So, between Tulowitzki and Gonzalez, guess which one is a more valuable commodity on the trade market?