Rockies expected to shop Tulowitzki, should the Cardinals bid?

Posted by Scott Wuerz on September 15, 2013 

A story in the New York Daily news over the weekend says that the Rockies are considering going into rebuilding mode after a disappointing 2013 season that finds them 68-81 and 18.5 games out in the National League West.

On the list of players they're willing to part with are left fielder Carlos Gonzalez and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The reason the New York press is in on the story is because the Mets would like to do some shopping off the Colorado roster. But the Rockies have told New York that they want young, major league-ready players. And the Mets don't have enough resources in that department to strike a deal.

The Cardinals, who don't need a left fielder -- but who could desperately use a shortstop and a productive right-handed bat, have tons of players to make a deal like that happen.

First, there's Matt Adams whose big bat would play very well in Colorado. Rockies first baseman Todd Helton announced Saturday that he plans to retire at the end of the season so there is an obvious need there and Adams would have to hold enormous appeal. As a part time player with 241 at-bats, Adams has matched Helton's 13 home runs and has a .797 on base plus slugging percentage, 70 points better than Helton.

Next to Helton on the infield, the Rockies have had a revolving door at second base. D.J. LaMaheiu has the most playing time there this season. He's batting .287 but has only two home runs and a .320 on-base percentage. Might the Rockies be interested in Kolten Wong who, while he hasn't performed in a brief trial in the majors this season in which he's not really getting a fair chance to adjust to the pitching, has a .365 career on base percentage in the minor leagues.

The best thing about both of those players is that they make the major league minimum. The Rockies would get instant savings and have one or more players who could be starters in 2014.

The Redbirds also could potentially send pitching in the prospective deal. Does Lance Lynn have a place in St. Louis in 2014?

The Cardinals could afford, as much as some people would hate to see them go, to part with both Adams and Wong. Oscar Taveras, the top prospect in the St. Louis system, ought to be healthy and ready to contribute on the major league level next season. His lefty bat at the very least should be able to fill the role Adams has played with the team. 

And, regardless of Wong's accomplishments, he can only play a position that is currently manned by a candidate for the National League Most Valuable Player Award. I don't see how he can be moved to make room for a rookie. Especially when we saw the sort of range Matt Carpenter displayed Friday against Seattle. It would be a waste to cast off David Freese and try to move Carpenter back to third base.

Tulowitzki is owed $120 million over the next six years, $16 million in 2014, $20 million from 2015 until 2019. He has a $15 million option for 2020 with a $4 million buyout. It's certainly a steep price. But it's getting cheaper now that he's whittled this season off the books. And the Rockies ought to be able to pick up at least a little bit of the tab with legitimate high ceiling players on the other end of the deal.

Tulowitzki, 28, has hit .313 this season with 22 homers. His power numbers might come down in St. Louis a bit. But he still has pretty exceptional power for a shortstop. He'd be a really nice fit in the second spot of the St. Louis batting order if a deal that could make sense financially could be struck.

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