Despite Colorado Rockies management's insistence that shortstop Troy Tulowitzki won't be traded, Yahoo Sports reports that the club has plans to meet with St. Louis Cardinals leaders this week to discuss a potential deal.
The sides are set to meet at the general managers meeting this weekend. And the report sure makes it sound as if Tulowitzki is the Redbirds' top target this off-season. It says if the Birds can't land Tulowitzki that they plan to move on to the Texas Rangers to discuss a trade for one of their shortstops, 25-year-old veteran Elvis Andrus or top prospect Jurickson Profar.
There were rumored talks last spring revolving around Profar. Supposedly the Rangers wanted the Cardinals' top prospect, Oscar Taveras, for theirs. Closer to the trade deadline over the summer trade talks were apparently revisited but the clubs couldn't get anything done.
Although he's had some injury problems in recent years, Tulowtzki would be a huge addition for the Cardinals because he plays excellent defense at shortstop and he brings a powerful right handed bat to the position.
While his contract is expensive -- Tulo has $134 million guaranteed through 2021 -- the Redbirds are in a unique position to be able to afford it. First, it looks as if Carlos Beltran is out of the picture because of his contract demands. That gives St. Louis about $40 million to spend before it reaches the 2013 payroll threshold. Second, the Birds have a ton of young starting pitching that allows them to reallocate money to other needs. Instead of paying Jake Westbrook $8.5 million to sit on the disabled list, they'll pay Michael Wacha $500,000 or less.
Team sources indicate any trade is likely to include Shelby Miller, the top young arm that the Cardinals are apparently willing to part with. Apparently Miller's name is on the lips of every opposing executive to make a call to St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak.
According to the Yahoo story, the Rockies may also have some interest in slugging first baseman Matt Adams. That would allow the Cardinals to return Allen Craig to first base and make room in right field for Taveras. It also speculates that the Cardinals might have to throw in Kevin Siegrist or Trevor Rosenthal to make the deal happen.
If I was Mozeliak I'd think long and hard about Siegrist. But there is no deal in which I would include Rosenthal. Not only do I believe he has the potential to be a great player for years to come, but with Edward Mujica set to leave via free agency and Jason Motte still recovering from Tommy John surgery, they don't have an in-house replacement closer.
I think Miller, Adams and taking $134 million off the Rockies hands is more than enough for a shortstop who has tremendous potential both to hit -- and to land on the disabled list. If the Rockies disagree, I think the Birds should move on to meet with the Rangers.