When a professional baseball team’s fortunes grow dimmer as summer winds down, fans often shake their heads and say, “There’s always next year!”
However, making changes to the lineup isn’t merely a matter of adding a key player or three. Sometimes, star players get tired of playing on a team that’s perpetually at the bottom of the standings. With a major league career sometimes amounting to only a few seasons, it’s understandable when so-called Franchise Players decide to make the jump to…another franchise.
Take shortstop Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies, for instance. A perennial All-Star who was having a tremendous year at the plate before suffering a season-ending hip injury, Tulo, as he’s known to Denver fans, has been the subject of trade rumors. Some in the press have gone so far as to speculate that the sparkling infielder will go the way of other superstar players and join the ranks of the (gulp) New York Yankees. After all, Tulo’s hero growing up, Yankee Derek Jeter, is said to be retiring after this season, which would open up a spot at short.
Naturally, any talk of trade rumors brings in commentary from local baseball writers, all of whom have been keeping players like Tulo under the microscope in their respective towns.
Mike Kiszla of the Denver Post says that trade rumors are the least of the problems the Rockies face when thinking about the future of Tulo. And even though Tulo might be, as Kiszla puts it, “sick and tired of losing in Denver,” staying in The Mile High City might be his best option.
One main reason? Well, two, actually. Tulo’s recent battle with injuries has caused him to miss nearly half of his team’s games since 2012. And, given that the rangy shortstop – termed “the best in the game” by his manager, Walt Weiss -- has some $118 million left on his contract with the Rockies, it would be something of a gamble for a team to make a play for him. Even a team as rich in history, talent and money as the Yankees.
Kiszla’s solution hardly seems likely to appeal to Tulo: Moving to first base, where his bat would still be a valuable asset, but where he wouldn’t encounter as many situations that could expose him to injury.
Of course, an American League team might one day want Tulo as a designated hitter. Which means he should probably keep visiting the cages as often as possible.