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What are the Rockies thinking with the Tulowitzki deal?

The Yankees must be thanking their lucky stars that the Colorado Rockies exist.

Up until this point, New York was suffering in the spotlight of the no win situation that is being forced to overpay it's fading superstar shortstop a ridiculous sum of money to play out the string of his career in the Bronx. Derek Jeter was offered $15 million a season for three years. And then he turned his nose up at the offer, wanting both more dollars and more years from his bosses because The Captain doesn't want to accept a paycheck considerably smaller than the $30 million a season, 10-year one the club lavished on Alex Rodriguez a couple of years ago. Nevermind that he's 36 years old...

But then came the Rockies who, for no apparent reason, have decided to give Troy Tulowitzki $160 million over the next 10 years. And now Jeter isn't even in the argument for the most ridiculous contract given to a shortstop this off-season.

The Tulowitzki deal is insane for a variety of reasons. The first that comes to mind relates to the fact that Tulowitzki was under contract, including a club option, through 2014. He couldn't have been a free agent for FOUR SEASONS! Why pay through the nose now? A lot can happen in four years.

Second, Colorado doesn't exactly have the best record at passing out mega deals. If the budget busting deal for first baseman Todd Helton, who almost immediately saw his production vaporize because of back problems after getting a nine-year, $141 million contract in 2003 doesn't illustrate that point, how about the eight-year, $121-million pact it handed Mike Hampton in 2001?

Hampton went 21-28 with a 5.75 ERA for the Rockies before they handed over a big pile of money to send the oft-injured lefty to Atlanta. I guess some clubs never learn... How Colorado managed to make it to a World Series with both those guys draining money from the payroll is beyond me. Which leads to the third reason: The Rockies are going to have to try to contend in the latter part of this decade with a middle to upper thirties shortstop taking up a fifth to a quarter of their payroll.

Unfortunately for everyone else, other teams in baseball will see an increased demand for decade-long contracts that will pay players mega bucks well past their primes in response to this ill-advised deal. When Tulowotzki signs on the dotted line, you can just about write off any hopes that Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols is going to accept less than a 10-year contract.