There are now two teams that want Troy Tulowitzki in a trade deal, the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies, as they are expected to meet at the GM/owners’ meetings in Orlando, according to a Nov. 13 article by Yahoo Sports.
St. Louis’ preference is to fill its gaping hole at shortstop with Tulowitzki, considered the best at the position in the major leagues. While Rockies ownership has said publicly it has no intentions of trading Tulowitzki, privately it continues to weigh advantages of freeing itself from the final seven years and $134 million guaranteed remaining on his contract against the loss of a superstar and the public-relations hit of trading a beloved homegrown player.
Should the Rockies change their mind and deal Tulowitzki, his contract calls for an additional $2 million “assignment bonus” and would immediately grant him no-trade provisions. St. Louis projects as a good fit for Tulowitzki. Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday, a former teammate in Colorado, is a close friend, and with the Rockies languishing in last place for the second consecutive season, St. Louis, coming off World Series appearances in two of the last three years, would provide the immediate contender Tulowitzki covets.
St. Louis soon will find out. With the GM meetings and owners meetings taking place simultaneously, it gives the Cardinals the opportunity to consult with Rockies owner Dick Monfort, who sits atop Colorado’s convoluted hierarchy in which general manager Dan O’Dowd cedes day-to-day operations of the major league roster to Bill Geivett. Executives from other teams are uncertain who holds final decision-making authority in Colorado, leaving Monfort the best point person in a potential trade of this magnitude.
While Monfort a month ago told The Denver Post “my plan is always to keep” Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado’s other high-paid star, he implied carrying the salaries of both going forward might not be tenable. He also took a shot at Tulowitzki’s leadership skills, calling him a me-first player, the sort of assertion with which several people in the Rockies organization strongly disagree.
The Cardinals gladly will take him as a replacement for Pete Kozma. Despite more than $75 million committed to seven players for 2014, sources said St. Louis believes it has enough room in its budget to absorb Tulowitzki’s $16 million salary, which jumps to $20 million a year for the five years after before dipping to $14 million in 2020 and ending with a $15 million option (including a $4 million buyout) in 2021.