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Tulowitzki, CarGo rip ex-teammate Jimenez

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- You bet the Rockies hear former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez rhapsodizing about his new home in Cleveland while taking shots at Colorado in the process.

And Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez have heard enough.

"I don't like bad-mouthing people," Tulowitzki told CBSSports.com Friday. "But it's tough to hear those things.

"While I've been here, everybody's been treated fairly. There's a certain point in this game where you go play and you shut your mouth. And you don't worry about what other people are doing."

"Sometimes players need a different place to play, a different atmosphere," Gonzalez told CBSSports.com.

While Jimenez says Cleveland "is like being in heaven" and says "it was kind of hard being with the Rockies" and admits unhappiness over the fact that Tulowitzki and CarGo were awarded big contracts, the two of them call bull.

Tulowitzki signed a 10-year, $157.75 million deal with the Rockies following the 2010 season. Gonzalez inked a seven-year, $80 million deal later that winter.

Jimenez signed a four-year, $10 million deal before the 2009 season.

"The problem was, we all had great seasons [in 2010]," Gonzalez said. "Tulo got an extension, I got an extension, and he didn't because he was under contract. He took a contract earlier than me and Tulo.

"Sometimes, you make decisions that hurt you later. You have to realize that no one forces you to do anything in this game. Every decision you make is going to be there for the rest of your life.

"Once you make a contract decision, it's always going to be there. As players, we just need to be smart about it. When you decide to sign a contract, you have to be smart about it."

Jimenez went 15-12 in '09 after signing his deal, then had a breakout season in 2010 in which he went 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA, including firing a no-hitter at Atlanta in April.

But jealousy set in almost from the very beginning in 2011 over the new deals granted Tulowitzki and Gonzalez, several Rockies say.

While the Rockies raced out of the gate 17-8 last season, Jimenez started 0-3 with a 6.67 ERA.

It was clear as early as the season's first month that Jimenez had mentally checked out.

"You try to get a feel for a teammate, and we can't get anything back," Tulowitzki said. "People ask, 'Well, he's your teammate, don't you know what's wrong with him?'

"We tried to ask him. And we couldn't get anything in return."

That made for a very uncomfortable clubhouse almost from the Day One.

"Without a doubt," Tulowitzki said. "You don't know what the deal is. You begin hearing trade rumors, and once those started flying, you don't hear a guy say, 'This is the place I want to be.' You don't hear a guy say, 'I don't want to be traded.'

"When you have a situation like that from a team standpoint, you think the guy wants to leave."

Gonzalez said he ran into Jimenez at dinner the other night at Ra Sushi in Scottsdale, and that it was good to see his former teammate. It was the first time the two had seen each other since the trade, Gonzalez said, and "we all wish him the best because he's a great person and a great athlete."

But as for the idea that players are treated more fairly in Cleveland than in Colorado, Gonzalez, earning $5 million this year and $7.5 million next year before his contract shoots up to $10.5 million in 2014, $16 million in 2015, $17 million in 2016 and $20 million in 2017 (while Jimenez will earn $4.2 million this summer), doesn't want to hear it.

"We play baseball, from my standpoint since I was about one-year-old, because we love it," Gonzalez said. "That's what I love. That's what I do. I started playing the game not because of the money, but because it's what I like. We don't play for contracts. There's no other reason than to play the game we love the most.

"When you make those decisions, you have to be smart and then you have to be happy. If you think you deserve more money, no. It's what you get. It's nobody's fault."

Gonzalez noted that he's been through two trades himself.

"Now," he said, "I feel like Denver's heaven."


 
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