Over the weekend, Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki told the Denver Post that he wants to “be somewhere where there’s a chance to be in the playoffs every year.” He’s 29 years old, and he sounds like he’s getting frustrated with his current organization. The Rockies may be inclined to trade him (most likely at the end of the season, if it were to happen). If they do, the New York Mets would not only be a great fit for Tulo, but they also absolutely have the pieces to get him.
Unlike Starlin Castro, Tulowitzki is a guy the Mets should be willing to give up top prospects for. The Rockies desperately need pitching, and the Mets have it. And it would be a smart trade for the Rockies. Why? Because batters hit better in Coors Field. Humidor or not, the ball travels 5-10 percent farther at 5,280 feet above sea level. In addition, breaking balls aren’t as sharp, making pitches easier to hit. That means an average hitter can become above average at altitude, while an average pitcher becomes below average. So, the Rockies should concentrate on acquiring great pitchers while spending less time finding superstar hitters.
The Mets would have to give up someone like Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Brandon Nimmo or Kevin Plawecki, or some combination of them and/or mid-level prospects. To acquire Tulowitzki, parting ways with these players would be worth it.
Tulo is the seminal offensive shortstop in the game today. He has an .890 career OPS while averaging about 25 home runs a year. He has a history of injuries, but since his first full season in 2007, he’s averaged 511 plate appearances per year. Who wouldn’t take that? Tulo is also a great defensive shortstop; he has more range than people give him credit for, and he has a strong arm.
As for his contract, he’s signed through 2020 and would cost the Mets $20 million a year. Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Are the Wilpons sufficiently out of debt to take on another $20 million in payroll? Despite what they’ve said publicly, their payroll has decreased every year since they were fleeced by Bernie Madoff. If their actions are any indication, then trading for Tulowitzki is a pipe dream.
The Mets have the prospects it will take to trade for Tulowitzki. If they also have the money, then trading for the Rockies’ shortstop is a no-brainer. As for Tulo’s wish to play for a contender, his presence at shortstop would be the piece of the puzzle that puts the Mets into that category.