As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, the rumors surrounding Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki are heating up. The New York Mets are one of the teams connected with Tulo, if only because they have the young pitching to acquire him. No one knows if GM Sandy Alderson and company are actually talking to the Rockies, and Colorado owner Dick Monfort has publicly hinted he doesn’t want to trade Tulowitzki this summer, if at all. But if he has a change of heart and the Mets had the pieces the Rockies are looking for, would the Mets be able to afford the 29-year-old?
Tulowitzki still has five and a half years left on his seven-year, $134 million contract. According to Cot’s baseball contracts, he is owed $20 million per season every year until 2019. Meanwhile, not only have the Mets been reluctant to add payroll, they’ve actually reduced payroll every year since 2011. That year their payroll was an all-time team high of $142 million. While the Mets spent significant money on free agents during the offseason, most notably signing Curtis Granderson, their payroll went down again in 2014. Last year they spent $93 million on player salaries, and this year they’re spending $85 million. In part, that’s because they don’t have to pay Johan Santana anymore, but it also shows they are still squeamish to hand out huge, long-term contracts. At four years, $60 million, Granderson is practically a bargain compared to what other free agents got last winter.
The Mets will pay Granderson $16 million next year, David Wright will receive $20 million and Bartolo Colon will make $11 million (if he’s not traded in the coming days or weeks). That’s $47 million tied up in three players. Will team owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon be willing to sink $20 million into another player? They’ve given no indication that they’re willing to significantly increase their payroll, despite what they’ve said about money no longer being an issue.
There’s no question Tulowitzki would help the Mets, even if the oft-injured shortstop only gives the team 120-130 games a year. But based on their recent behavior, there’s no way the Wilpons will be willing to pay his salary.