This is rapidly becoming an All-Star game tradition: Troy Tulowitzki dodging questions about whether he wants out of Colorado.
The Rockies are in last place in the National League West, on pace to finish at least 18 games out of first place for the fifth consecutive season. Tulowitzki, their shortstop and franchise player, is 30 years old and signed with the Rockies through 2020.
The Angels could use him, at third base and behind Albert Pujols in the lineup, playing behind his former Long Beach State teammate, Jered Weaver. The San Diego Padres, with virtually no production at shortstop or third base, could use him if they double down on winning rather than rebuilding. The New York Mets, in search of a shortstop for their wild-card bid, really could use him.
“Right now, I’m still a Rockie,” Tulowitzki said. “I’ve dealt with it for a couple years now. I’m still in a Rockies uniform. It is what it is.
“If they decide to do something, that’s on them. My job is just to be a player.”
The Rockies might be unable to get a return sufficient to justify trading their local icon, given the $98 million left on his contract after the season. As the Philadelphia Phillies have learned in the Cole Hamels talks, it is increasingly difficult to find a team willing to absorb so much money and trade away its very best prospects.
But Tulowitzki resolutely refuses to say the words that could keep him from dealing with this: I want to be a Rockie, and I do not want to be traded.
“The Rockies and I have a good relationship,” he said. “As of now, I feel we can win. I want to win there, first and foremost.”
Why does he believe the Rockies can win?
“There are some good young players. Look at these lockers next to me,” he said, pointing to his All-Star teammates, Rockies infielders Nolan Arenado and D.J. LeMahieu.
“Pitching, at times, struggles. Obviously, it’s a good hitters’ ballpark. We haven’t been the best at developing pitchers. Hopefully it comes. If it does, we’ll be a good team.”
Why does he believe the Rockies can develop pitchers now?
“You’ve got to trust the process,” he said. “You’ve got to have some faith.”
Why not borrow a page from the playbook of Jonathan Papelbon, the closer who blasted the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday for not trading him from a last-place team?
“It’s not like that,” Tulowitzki said. “I take a lot of pride in staying in one organization. My favorite player was Derek Jeter. He stayed with one organization his entire career. I think there is something special to that. Not too many guys get to do it in this day and age. It would be cool, when I am done playing, to say that I did that.”
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