UPDATE: Troy Tulowitzki decided, after meeting with his agent today, that he will not ask the Rockies to trade him, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. Tulowitzki continues to say that he needs to play better in order to help Colorado win.
ORIGINAL: In a conversation with the NY Post's Joel Sherman, Paul Cohen, the agent for perennial all-star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies, said his client is tired of of playing for a perennial loser, doesn't see improvement on the horizon and wants to meet Thursday morning to talk about asking management for a trade.
According to Sherman, the warning shot from the infielder's representative also included the following blockbuster: "It could get to the point for [owner] Dick Monfort and GM Jeff [Bridich] that the storyline every day with the team is when is Tulowitzki being traded," Cohen said. "That is negative for the franchise as the idea of trading the face of the franchise. They are smart enough to recognize they don’t want that going forward."
The significance of such a statement, of course, is that by simply stating it publicly for attribution, it becomes a fact and becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. The toothpaste is out of the tube and now Monfort and Bridich have far, far bigger problems than trying to find pitching help. The face of the franchise has stopped smiling and is about to start biting them if they don't move him soon. That's the message -- and from a strategic standpoint, it might not be a bad thing for them they act on it.
Tulowitzki has five years left and $106 million left on his contract. He's 30 years old, and when he's healthy he's the best shortstop in baseball, but he's got a body that should be donated to science fiction. He hasn't appeared in 140 games in a season in five years, spending extended time on the DL for a recurring groin issue, a rib injury and hip injuries that ultimately required surgery last July and cut short an MVP-worthy season. While the effects from the knife this season haven't been evident in his batting eye or his .307 BA, his .317 OBP and .495 slugging are his lowest in three years. His walks are down, his strikeouts are up and he only has 2 home runs in 101 AB playing half his games in nature's launching pad at Coors Field.
However, when he went on the disabled list in late July last year he led MLB with a .340 BA, .432 OBP and 1.035 OPS -- and that's reason enough for a team that believes it's one shortstop away from the promised land to go all in on him with premium prospects and premium cash. The Rockies have been in perpetual rebuilding mode since their last playoff appearance in 2009 and progress has been sketchy.
According to Sherman's report, presumably in consultation with Cohen, the New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates all have holes that need filling at Tulowitzki's position. All four franchises have farm systems loaded with prospects that could turbocharge the Colorado rebuilding effort, and at least two of them -- the Mets and Mariners -- have the cash to go all in.