Just before Christmas 2018, Tulo announces he will need surgery on his other heel. His 2019 season is now in doubt and Story is securely in the lead for Opening Day shortstop honors, the first time he will be an Opening Day starter.
The extra surgery costs Tulo the 2019 season. Despite the Coors Field bias, Story finishes second in National League MVP voting. Tulo promises to be back and ready for the 2020 campaign.
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Tulo shows up for 2020 spring training and says he will do everything he can to win the shortstop position back from Story. At age 35, it quickly becomes apparent that Story has passed him in skills and on the depth chart. Faced with the prospect of being somewhat healthy but relegated to a backup role with the Rockies, Tulo tells reporters he feel he can still be a starter for another team. He also says he feels healthy enough to play out the final season of his guaranteed contract and make a difference for another team.
Bridich tries to find a trade partner for Tulo but no team wants to take a chance on his health and pay him $14 million in his final season. With just 58 at-bats on the season and another nagging hamstring injury, Tulo announces his retirement at Coors Field on July 1, 2020. His final at-bat will be a pop out to third to end a 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres the night before with runners on second and third.
Tulowitzki not only retires as a member of the Rockies, but his contract also keeps Colorado from making other moves it would have made otherwise. Ian Desmond is never signed to a large contract. That money is used to re-sign DJ LeMahieu to play second, keeping Colorado’s infield of Nolan Arenado, Story, LeMahieu and first baseman Ryan McMahon intact through the 2019 season.
That’s our alternate universe with Tulowitzki staying with the Rockies. What do you think would have happened? Let us know in the comments section below.