With the 2014 season half-way over and it being the final season of Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame career with the New York Yankees, people have wondered who will be the replacement at shortstop for the team once Jeter retires.
While names like Hanley Ramirez or JJ Hardy get dropped, especially since both are free agents after the season, another very popular name that continues to get mentioned is Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies. Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post talked to Tulowitzki and the Rockies shortstop sounded like he might want out of Colorado as soon as this season.
“In Todd Helton, there’s someone who’s easy to look at his career here and how it played out. I have the utmost respect for Todd, but at the same time, I don’t want to be the next in line as somebody who was here for a long time and didn’t have a chance to win every single year,” said Tulowitzki, reviewing the 17 years Helton spent as the face of a franchise that never won a division title. “He played in a couple postseason games and went to one World Series. But that’s not me. I want to be somewhere where there’s a chance to be in the playoffs every single year.”
The key words to look at: "I want to be somewhere where there's a chance to be in the playoffs." That does not sound like someone looking to finish their career in one spot; that all but sounds like someone who wants out and wants out badly.
The 29-year-old Tulowitzki is currently in the middle of a great season, hitting .350 with 18 home runs and 47 RBI in 82 games for the Colorado Rockies; the 37-51 Colorado Rockies who are 12 games back of first place and likely not going to be contending this season. Tulowitzki does have a rather large contract attached to him, as he's owed $16 million for the rest of 2014, then is owed $114 million into the 2020 season, but the Yankees aren't ever worried about money and Hal Steinbrenner has already said that he will add to the Yankees payroll if needed in order to improve the roster and Tulowitzki would improve the Yankees roster greatly.
Now of course, with Jeter still playing regularly at shortstop, an interesting question to pose is; where would Tulowitzki play if he were acquired? Second base? Third base? It's a tough call because for his entire career, he's played no other position in the infield aside from shortstop. But then again, neither did Alex Rodriguez until 2004 when he was traded to the Yankees and then he became a permanent third basemen. And at the time, A-Rod was the best shortstop and player in the game moving over to a new position and with Jeter playing in his final season in the majors, it's highly unlikely that the Yankees would ask Jeter to move to another spot, even for someone like Tulowitzki even though in the field, he's better than Jeter right now.
Could the Yankees have the necessary prospects in order to pull off a deal for Tulowitzki; especially over a team with minor league talent like the St. Louis Cardinals? Probably not, but the one thing the Yankees can do is take his contract off the Rockies hands and giving them salary relief like that could be more valuable than adding prospects in a deal as teams like the Los Angeles Angels or Philadelphia Phillies getting saddled with bad contracts have hurt their chances to be competitive and win. For the Rockies, it has been even worse, as they haven't been a competitive team in quite some time and unloading Tulowitzki could be the start of that.
If Tulowitzki does want out of Colorado, the Yankees should be one of the first teams to call them and ask what it would take to land the shortstop. Aside from Dellin Betances or Luis Severino, any other prospect should be on the table for the Rockies; plus the Yankees inheriting his deal. Either way, adding someone like Tulowitzki would be a major plus to a team in need of a jolt and an upgrade.
While a trade for Tulowitzki seems like a deal more suitable for the offseason as opposed to at the trade deadline, if he is on the block this month, then the Yankees need to jump at the chance to see if they can pry him away from Colorado and bring him to be the replacement for the guy he grew up idolizing.
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