A hot topic during trade season the past few years has been, “Will the Rockies trade Troy Tulowitzki?” It’s an intriguing question. On one hand, he’s the face of the franchise and is one of, if not the top shortstop in the league. But what does that matter for a team that hasn’t found itself playing meaningful baseball in years? Ideally, when you have a franchise talent like Tulo, you build around that player, but clearly that didn’t work in Colorado as the Rockies are on their way to missing the playoffs for the 6th consecutive season. Now they might have to deal him to get pieces that they can build a contender with.
So where do the San Diego Padres fit into this discussion? Usually when you hear the idea of the Rockies dealing Tulo, it’s to one of the New York teams who are brought up as the most likely destinations, but Jon Morosi of Fox Sports said on MLB Central that San Diego may be the best landing spot for him.
His logic is pretty simple. The Padres need a shortstop and have shown a willingness to spend. In theory that sounds nice, but the two sides don’t match up that well. After adding a lot of payroll this past offseason another big risky contract on the books might not be what the Padres’ ownership group wants. They’ve shown they’re willing to spend money, but adding another $20 million to the bill could be too much. Also the Rockies would need a a substantial return to justify a trade of their best player. They’d most likely want a package centered around young pitching, due to the fact free agent pitchers refuse to voluntarily pitch half their games at Coors Field. Unfortunately the Padres don’t have many top pitching prospects. Casey Kelly is their best pitching prospect according to MLB.com, but with his injury history he doesn’t hold much value. Behind him are guys like Zech Lemond, Tayron Guerrero and Colin Rea. Lemond and Guerrero aren’t the kind of prospects teams salivate over, but Rea’s seen his stock shoot up from his strong performances this year. Still, he isn’t the kind of impact arm the Rockies need to pull the trigger on a deal of this magnitude.
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So could a trade for Tulowitzki actually happen? Yes, but it would likely require a lot of outside help. The first step would be to trade of Craig Kimbrel or James Shields to clear some money. Kimbrel would return actual talent that could be flipped to the Rockies for Tulo, but he holds more value to the Padres if they’re trying to contend. The next step would be to get Kevin Gausman from the Orioles. ESPN’s Buster Olney floated out the idea of the Padres acquiring Gausman earlier this week when rumors starting swirling about Gausman’s availability.
Trading both Justin Upton and Tyson Ross for Gausman seems like a bit much, but for this hypothetical we can roll with it. Now the Padres would have that young, high ceiling starter that the Rockies covet plus the prospects acquired for Shields or Kimbrel and likely Hunter Renfroe is a compelling package for the Rockies to consider.
That seems to be a lot of work just to get one player, albeit a franchise changing player, but he’s just one guy who hasn’t been able to lead his team to the postseason. In order to pull it off they’d need to trade away three of their best players and their top prospect. With all of that going out and only Tulowitzki coming in, it wouldn’t be worth it. Everyone knows the kind of impact Troy Tulowitzki can have on a lineup, but if you have to sell off your team to get him, then what’s the point? The team will have it’s third near unmovable contract to put alongside Melvin Upton Jr. and Matt Kemp and a lot of the team’s top players would be gone. So to answer the question, yes Tulo could become a Padre, but it’s far more trouble than it’s worth.
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