Troy Tulowitzki: Assessing the Colorado Rockies’ Trade


At the trade deadline last season, the Colorado Rockies made a blockbuster deal by sending Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays.

The Colorado Rockies selected Troy Tulowitzki in the first round (seventh overall) in the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft. Tulowitzki played in the minor leagues in 2005 and most of 2006; however, he made his MLB debut late in the 2006 season. After making his debut in 2006, Troy Tulowitzki turned into one of the best shortstops in the game, behind his impact bat and great defense. In 2007, Tulowitzki narrowly lost to Ryan Braun (cough cough) in the Rookie of the Year voting, finishing second.

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As a member of the Colorado Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki earned five All-Star selections, won two Gold Glove Awards, and received two Silver Slugger Awards. With two Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger Awards to his name, Troy Tulowitzki vaulted himself as one of the best two-way shortstops in baseball. Despite being a perennial All-Star, injuries hampered Tulowitzki throughout his career. Since 2012, Tulowitzki’s season-high for games played sat at just 128 (2015). He missed significant time in each of the past four seasons, ranging from leg injuries to a cracked shoulder blade.

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Before the 2015 season, the Colorado Rockies signed Tulowitzki through the 2020 season with a team option for 2021. With a six-year, $118M deal on the Rockies’ books, they looked to deal the five-time All-Star at the trade deadline. The Toronto Blue Jays were in the middle of a playoff push, and they looked to bolster their already-potent lineup with, perhaps, the best hitting shortstop in the game. Near the trade deadline, the Colorado Rockies and Toronto Blue Jays struck a deal.

The Colorado Rockies sent Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins to the Blue Jays for Jose Reyes, Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, and Jesus Tinoco. Tulowitzki had no idea the Rockies were shopping his name around in 2015, and he was blindsided by the trade. Tulowitzki felt betrayed by the Colorado Rockies’ upper officials with the deal, and you could tell he was in a state of shock when he heard the news in Chicago. Tulowitzki wanted to remain with the Rockies for the duration of his career, but the team did not see the same.

Many fans scrutinized the Troy Tulowitzki trade, because the Colorado Rockies received a regressing Jose Reyes and a trio of unproven prospects. Jeff Hoffman headlined the yield for the Rockies, and he projects to be a front-line starter down the road. However, in retrospect, the Rockies received a lackluster return for their superstar shortstop. The Colorado Rockies understand they must rebuild their team from the ground up; thus, they traded for a trio of pitching prospects to add depth to their bat-heavy pipeline.

None of the prospects the Blue Jays gave the Colorado Rockies were among their top prospects, outside of Jeff Hoffman. However, after the deal, the Rockies rated Hoffman as their fourth-best prospect in their farm system, with Miguel Castro 10th and Jesus Tinoco 18th. The Rockies desperately needed touted pitching prospects, but the pitching they received from the Jays does not seem to be future stars. Jeff Hoffman presents the best chance to be a star out of the trio, with Castro likely transitioning to a role out of the bullpen.

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  • Just recently, the Atlanta Braves traded their Gold Glove shortstop Andretlon Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels for Erick Aybar, Sean Newcomb, and Chris Ellis. Simmons is a glove-first type of player with a quiet bat; however, the Braves managed to get a player similar to Reyes (Erick Aybar) and the Angels’ top two prospects. Simmons is nowhere near the type of player Troy Tulowitzki presents, but the Braves managed to get an unbelievable yield from their poor hitting, solid defending shortstop.

    In hindsight, the Colorado Rockies probably jumped the gun by dealing Tulowitzki as early in his contract as they did. There was no reason to deal Tulowitzki in 2015, because the Rockies are not close to contention. They needed to rebuild their system, and the Blue Jays’ system was one of the weakest in the league. The fact that the Colorado Rockies have Trevor Story in their farm system likely expedited the process of trading Tulowitzki, but the Rockies needed to wait for the right offer, not the first offer.

    Now, Rockies’ fans must hope that these players pan out, because if the Rockies see no significant production from these prospects, this trade can go down in history as one of the Rockies’ worst. I do not see this trade playing out the same way as the Matt Holliday deal to the Oakland Athletics; the Rockies received Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith for Matt Holliday. The best-case scenario out of this deal is that Troy Tulowitzki drops of the face of the earth (although we do not wish this), Hoffman becomes a front-line starting pitcher for the Rockies, Castro ingrains himself as one of the best closers in baseball, and Tinoco provides, at least, replacement-level production.

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    The plus to this deal is that it allowed Troy Tulowitzki to go to a contender, and perhaps, he can receive more national recognition. The Colorado Rockies struggle to garner national recognition, and plenty of people love to talk about how Coors Field skews players’ production. We, as fans, must take a wait-and-see approach for this trade, but as of now, it looks like the Colorado Rockies made a very poor decision letting Tulowitzki go for some prospects. Also, it does not help that Reyes looked awful with Rockies, and his recent arrest does not bode well for him staying with the team.