For most of the last 2 months we have been deluged with articles from every New York paper (including surprisingly the PS212 School News) that Tulo would be traded for the Mets plethora of pitching prospects. Why of course the Rox had to sell, and sell low, after all they are a small market team looking to shed payroll. It’s a team so far from contention that they will never be close until Tulo is closing in on free agency. The Rox after-all have the worst pitching and farm system in baseball. And after-all, New York simply HAS TO HAVE the best shortstop in baseball.
Of course we have never seen these articles in Colorado, perhaps because we actually have the facts, something that New York papers certainly have never viewed as essential to the writing of an article. So here are the facts:
- The Rockies are not shedding salary, and in fact might be able to add to their salary.
- In declining the option of Anderson and seeing Cuddy go they have already freed up the salary necessary to add “pieces” (no stars) to their roster and absorb raises and arbitration awards.
- The Rox, having dealt Rutledge, don’t have a player they consider to be major league ready for 140 games at SS (we know that the team wants to rest almost all regulars at least 20 or so games). While Adames has had a nice offseason, and a nice glove, the Rox do not see him as a starter – unless they are really are giving up on the season.
- The Rox have to compete in 2015, at least somewhat, especially after asking the team to buy off on 2012-2014 failures, without the rebuilding that Houston had done, if they want to keep the fans still interested (see the Nuggets and Avs for how long it takes to win fans back after failure).
- The Rox are actually close on their plan for competition – maybe not in 2015 (as in a playoff run), but with so many of their top pitching prospects ready to break-through in 2015, they don’t want to send off their best player just as they need him (CarGo is a different subject).
- Aside from Noah Syndergaard, the Mets pitching prospects do not have a higher profile than Grey and Butler (the view on Matz is more mixed, though power lefty arms are always an interest with the great lefty bats in the league). Matz is slightly ahead of Freeland, the Rox pick in 2014, but Freeland has already proven his ability at altitude. Tyler Anderson is a bit behind Matz and Freeland, but still in the neighborhood.
- But most important, more than all this, is that team’s don’t trade a player who, even when he plays less than 120 games, can forecast for the next few years as a 5 WAR player…at least. For prospects, other team’s prospects who you don’t know personally, who you have not tested at altitude, who you cannot count on.
All of this is I believe to point out the biggest reason why the trade hasn’t occurred. The Rox will only deal one of the best 5 players in the NL for…Matt Harvey. Harvey has proven himself. Harvey has a chance (Tommy John isnt a guarentee, even with our years of data) to be a top 5 pitcher in the NL. New GM Jeff Bridich will not risk having his first move of his regime to be trade his face of the franchise and best player for…prospects. They have done this before, in 2011, when they dealt Ubaldo Jiminez for….prospects. Including a top 5 in the recent draft Drew Pomeranz. And that trade…was a total disaster.
No, the only way you deal a player like Tulo is if you get a new cover of the team’s magazine, and the only player that the Mets can offer to make that possible is Harvey. If the team were needing to drop huge salary, in a rebuilding program, desperate in other words, then yes, Syndaagard and another top prospects (or two) might make it happen. But, that is not the team the Mets are dealing with right now. The Colorado Rockies actually believe they can be competitive in 2015 (and in baseball’s weird world, why not, even if they are heading for say an 85 win season, you can make trades at the deadline to see if you can get over the hump), and a real shot in 2016 of the playoffs. The Rockies have a great young core surrounded by stars in CarGo and Tulo and a vet in Morneau. They have their team’s winningest pitcher and 4 former #1s of their own plus one of Houston at either AAA or in the majors already (Matzek, Lyles, Anderson, Grey and Butler). They have bullpen issues, but that is where team’s “tinker,” not make huge deals. What the team needs if Tulo is to leave is not “future,” but a star #1, Matt Harvey.
So, is that deal going to happen? I don’t think so. In the Major Leagues today there are no complete teams anymore. The Giants won with a great pitcher, a career run by their LF, and a great bullpen. The Royals won thanks to a bullpen and a rotation that was unable to get out of the 6th most of the playoffs, strarting players whom their own fans and ownership deemed “disappointments.” The Cubs? Lots of money and some talent, but they still have to hurdle the Cards. Washington? This is evidently their last year, as free agency is about to ravage the team. Even the Angels, who won more games than any other one last year, have a rotation that is iffy, an aging set of stars and….Mike Trout. There are no complete teams. The Mets have chosen at this point to be a great pitching team, with Harvey, Syndergaard, and DeGroom (who I think everyone is waiting to proove can do repeat it for a whole season. If the Mets want Tulo to help fill out their team…it will cost Harvey. If the Rox want a sure-fire, proven #1, it will cost them Tulo. Welcome to baseball in the 21st century.
So, where does this leave us? Likely with Tulo starting on opening day for the Rox and wining the All-Star nod at SS in the NL, and Harvey pitching no more than 175 innings in his comeback from TJ surgery year.
We have already seen that the Rox are unwilling to trade Morneau, CarGo, Rosario, Brothers and I am betting Charlie Blackmon, Boone Logan, and Drew Stubbs, unless they get their asking price. And because their salary situation isn’t dire, they can sit tight and wait and see if their price is met, they are able to compete in 2015, or a team get’s desperate due to injuries.
So, is Tulo getting traded? What do you think?