Regarding Troy Tulowitzki, we may not be asking the right question.
Troy Tulowitzki represents the exact kind of player that many teams either can’t or won’t consider. Don’t interpret this as a knock on the player. He’s one of baseball’s best shortstops and would make plenty of teams better. Problem is, the math changes dramatically when his age, injury history and contract are considered.
Here are some numbers:
- He has approximately $115 million remaining on a contract that runs through the 2020 season. He’ll make $20 million a season between 2015 and 2019. He’s baseball’s 25th-highest player this season. Only one shortstop, Jose Reyes at $22 million, will make more.
- Among all shortstops, he’s ninth in OPS, 10th in home runs and 13th in OBP. He’s first in doubles and 25th in Fangraphs.com’s defensive rating system.
- He has played an average of 93 games the last six seasons and 74 the last four.
So is he worth it? He played just 91 games last season, but was tremendous with a 1.035 OPS. Yes, Coors Field factored into those numbers. He had a 1.246 OPS at home, .811 on the road.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Even if the contract wasn’t there, plenty of baseball people love Andrelton Simmons, Freddy Galvis, Erick Aybar and Jhonny Peralta, perhaps ranking all of them ahead of Tulowitzki. Marcus Semien and Addison Russell are highly regarded young guys. Starlin Castro would be much in demand if the Cubs wanted to move him.
Again, this is no knock on Tulowitzki. He’s a tremendous player and surely would be energized by moving to a winning environment. But it’s not just about the talent. It’s the age and money and injuries, too.
The Yankees and Mets would seem to be the best fits, and the Mets are especially interesting because they clearly have the young prospects to pull off such a deal. But while Mets management has been looking at the shortstop market for at least a year, they don’t seem willing to take on the risks that would come with Tulo.
The Yankees seem much more cautious about spending money too and probably have bigger needs in the rotation. Perhaps the only other team that makes sense would be the Padres, who’ve been baseball’s most aggressive club since general manager A.J. Preller came on board.
The Nationals might consider Tulowitzki with Ian Desmond in his walk year. The Nats also have enough young players to make such a deal work if general manager Mike Rizzo decides to shake things up. But like others, Rizzo covets his prospects and won’t deal them unless he’s convinced the deal would vault the Nationals deep into October.
At this point, no deal seems imminent. Even though certain general managers are starting to look their clubs less by the day, they don’t seem inclined to make the kind of commitment (money and prospects) Tulowitzki would require. Things can change quickly, so stay tuned.