Colorado Rockies: What if Troy Tulowitzki had never been traded?

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 14: Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies looks on during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 14, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 14: Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies looks on during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 14, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 29: Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies hit a single against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the eighth inning at O.co Coliseum on June 29, 2015 in Oakland, California. The single was Tulowitzki’s third hit of the game. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 29: Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies hit a single against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the eighth inning at O.co Coliseum on June 29, 2015 in Oakland, California. The single was Tulowitzki’s third hit of the game. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Well, for starters, Story might be in the same position as Ryan McMahon, David Dahl, Raimel Tapia and others are currently in. He might be the shortstop who gets his chance when Tulo is out with an injury or might even get to play on certain days when Tulo needs a rest.

Think about it. In the alternate universe, in spring training 2016, Tulowitzki once again wins the starting shortstop position. At the age of 31, having a solid season, Tulo suffers an ankle injury late in the campaign that will force him to miss the rest of the year. Story gets his chance to shine, but has an up-and-down finish to the season. The rookie shortstop shows his ability to hit but his strikeout rate in limited plate appearances makes Rockies fans uneasy. They see the potential in Story … but they know Tulo will surely be healthy in 2017, right?

He will … but there is controversy in spring training. With Bud Black coming in as Colorado’s new manager, he wants to make sure that the veteran Tulowitzki is given every chance to win the position over Story. In a close race, Tulo wins the starting nod while Story gets his first-ever spot on the Opening Day roster.

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Tulowitzki plays in 130 games and hits 21 homers. A hamstring injury in June lands Tulo on the 10-day disabled list and gives Story plenty of playing time and he makes the most of it, showcasing his defensive abilities and smacking home runs in four straight games. However, when Tulo returns just before the All-Star break, he is back at shortstop. Questions swirl about if the Rockies will use Story as a trading chip with Colorado chasing a Wild Card spot but Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich hangs on to his young shortstop prospect through the trading deadline.

Story doesn’t see a lot of playing time as the Rockies clinch the Wild Card spot. Black decides to go with his veteran shortstop down the stretch.

Heading into the 2018 season, one of the biggest storylines for the Rockies is whether Story will finally unseat Tulo as shortstop. At 33, Tulowitzki is asked by reporters if he would consider playing another position, maybe even moving to first base. Tulo tells reporters he’ll “pack my bags and go home” if another shortstop is better than him and beats him out for the position. An uneasiness settles over Rockies spring training as fans know Black is somewhat backed into a corner with his veteran shortstop.

However, three games into the season, Tulowitzki pulls up lame running to first base and is diagnosed with a heel injury that will require surgery. Bone spurs force him to the bench and Story finally gets his chance to shine … and he does. His offensive outburst and defensive prowess pushes him into the All-Star conversation. He also helps the Rockies win another Wild Card spot.

Toward the end of the 2018 season, Tulo makes it clear he’ll be back for 2019 and ready to reclaim his position. Signed to a 10-year deal to 2010, the Rockies know they are paying him to play … but can he stay healthy enough? And can he really once again overtake the emerging Story for the shortstop role?

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