As recently as May 7, the Rockies were tied for first place in the NL West. Now, not even two months hence, they're 13 games out of first place and on pace for 95 losses. Such drain-circling once again raises the possibility that the Rockies will engage in the sell-off as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
Needless to say, the Rockies have no more valuable commodity than All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who's healthy and in vintage form thus far in 2014. Regarding that tantalizing possibility, Tulo himself sounds open to the idea of changing addresses at the deadline. Here's what he recently told Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post:
"In Todd Helton, there's someone who's easy to look at his career here and how it played out. I have the utmost respect for Todd, but at the same time, I don't want to be the next in line as somebody who was here for a long time and didn't have a chance to win every single year. He played in a couple postseason games and went to one World Series. But that's not me. I want to be somewhere where there's a chance to be in the playoffs every single year."
On the one hand, Tulowitzki is signed through 2020 and owed, after this season, a minimum of $118 million. As well, if Tulowitzki is traded while under his current contract, then he gets a $2-million assignment payout and a full no-trade clause.
All that said, we're talking about a plus-fielding shortstop who at the plate owns a career OPS+ of 125 and appears to be in his prime. The injury history can't be ignored, but Tulo is a frontline performer in every sense of the word. And frontline performers cost money, as they should.
While it's hard to imagine his playing in another uniform, Tulowitzki easily become the star of the deadline -- even a deadline that includes David Price -- if the Rockies decide it's time to tear it down.