Padres Editorial: Should the Padres Pursue Troy Tulowitzki?


Alexi Amarista isn’t the long-term answer at shortstop for the San Diego Padres. This much we know. How about an upgrade to the player who has been the best all-around shortstop of the last decade?

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Jim Bowden, baseball insider for, suggests that trading Troy Tulowitzki, the oft-injured but supremely talented shortstop who has nearly six years and about $115 million left on his contract, would be the best move that Colorado’s rookie GM Jeff Bridich can make for the 13-21 Rockies. The Padres are one of the top potential trade partners, according to Bowden.

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The Rockies’ infielder is no doubt among the best hitters and fielders at the position when healthy. The 6’3” slugger has put up an impressive .298/.371/.515 slash line in his career, but he is just as injury-prone as he is talented; he has missed nearly 500 games over his nine-year career. So, if Colorado decides to see what prospects they can get for their star, whichever team picks him up should plan to have him on the shelf a good deal of the time.

Bowden suggests that it would take either Derek Norris or Austin Hedges, combined with either Rymer Liriano or Hunter Renfroe, plus a bullpen arm for San Diego to potentially pry Tulo away from Colorado (Bowden mentions Kevin Quackenbush as a possibility for the reliever.) The Padres have traded away most of their highly-regarded prospects to get the team they have now, so they would have to hope that the remaining pieces are attractive enough to the Rockies to give up Tulowitzki to a division rival. And that’s no certainty.

Tulowitzki’s contract runs through 2020, with an option for 2021. That could give the Padres a core offense of Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Tulowitzki through 2019.

But is it worth it?

Tulowitzki has played 47, 126, and 91 games in the last three seasons. He has missed between 26 and 115 games in five of the last eight years. While Tulo is certainly a $20 million a year player when healthy, he has averaged only 107 games a year in his career, about two-thirds of a season. Twenty million a year for 107 games is a lot more expensive than $20 million for 160.

And would the Padres regret trading Norris or Hedges to a team they face 19 times a year? Norris has shown, albeit in a small sample size, that he is a productive middle-of-the-order bat, a capable receiver who can throw out some base-runners, and a genuine badass when it comes to on-the-field leadership. Hedges has been touted for several years in the minors as an elite-level defender. These two both have the potential to be All-Stars. In fact, Norris was an All-Star last year. Having two catchers with that level of talent seems to call for using one as trade bait. It remains to be seen if Hedges can hit major league pitching though; his offense in the minors has lagged far behind his defense.

So if Norris were the piece the Rockies needed to make them pull the trigger on a deal, what would the Padres be gaining? Whether they made the trade or not, San Diego would have one good hitter and one not-so-good hitter at the defense-oriented Catcher and Shortstop positions. That is, they’d go from having Norris and Amarista to having Tulowitzki and Hedges. Now, Tulo is a better hitter than Norris, and Hedges is a better defender than Amarista, but that’s why the Padres would also be giving up a solid OF prospect and a reliable bullpen arm (or some combination with similar value).

And if Hedges and Renfroe comprise the bulk of the trade package, the Padres will have succeeded in trading each of their top five prospects from last season. The well would be virtually dry.

In spite of the missed games, in spite of the cost giving up all, or nearly all, of the remaining top prospects in the Padres system, in spite of the addition of nearly $20 million to the budget, having number 2 in the middle of the lineup for the rest of the decade, even for just two-thirds of each season, seems too good to pass up.

Pony up, Seidlers. Let A.J. Preller do what he does best. Let’s bring Troy Tulowitzki to San Diego!

What do you guys think? Should the Padres pull the trigger on Tulo?

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