Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Why the Mets NEED Troy Tulowitzki
I come here not to bury the Mets...
Well maybe a little, but I leave most of that to more reputable writers. One of the hot rumors percolating this week has to do with Colorado Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki and the the New York Mets. Most people who cover baseball for a living and then publish their thoughts in places where I can find them say that the gap for this deal going forward is large.
I can certainly understand both parties, concerns with moving or acquiring a player like Tulo. For the Rockies he is the face of their franchise. The kind of cornerstone that you build around and erect a statue for on Troy Tulowitzki day in 2025. A career OPS+ of 125 at the SS position is also not exactly something you can just pick up on the way home. Unfortunately, the Rockies have all of 1 playoffs/World Series appearances to show for the Tulo era and that came back in 2007. They also still owe the 30 year old $118mil over the next 6 years and he has only topped 140 games in a year three times in his career (2007, 2009, 2011). I'm pretty sure its the money and injury history that are keeping the Mets from going full Tulo and laying out the prospects needed to get this deal done.
The thing is, this is the time when the Mets need to be bold. The last few seasons have shown that the Mets seem pretty capable of developing pitchers, but have tried to surround NY's last remaining superstar (David Wright) with the likes of Curtis Granderson (an about to be 34yo OF w/ an OPS+ figuring to be right around 100 in 2015) and an endless line of disappointing positional prospects (see Ike Davis). Pairing Wright and Tulo in the middle of that lineup with Granderson, Murphy, Cuddyer might put together enough runs to support its quickly emerging rotation.
In addition to on field impact, the Mets are uniquely positioned right now to add a guy like Tulo and have a big time impact on their moribund franchise going forward. At the time of this posting, NY baseball is in a state of flux. The Captain has retired and the City That Never Sleeps is lacking the iconic player that it collectively believes it deserves. Brian Cashman has continued to make those savvy moves that keep the Yankees in contention every year despite owners who want to throw more money at a problem than the public schools. But the Yankees still have a lot of "if everything goes right" things that need to happen for them to be the perennial contenders they have been for the better part of the last 20 years.
The point is, the Mets have the opportunity to start capturing the next generation of New York baseball fans. Lots of kids have come to age in the last 20 years knowing only the Yankees as the preeminent NY baseball team. But right now, Mets fans who came to the team through their successful run in the '80s are now in their 30's & 40's, raising families and spending money on recreational activities. And from what I understand Citi Field is a welcoming environment compared to the monument to corporate money in sports known as Yankee Stadium (not an indictment; its a business, I know).
Why not take that chance Mets? Be bold. The injury history is what it is, and the money probably isn't that bad when you look at today's market. But the chance to add a superstar player in his prime at a premium position when the market is there for the taking? Lay out those prospects, build an offense and if you find yourself a pitcher away next offseason, what fortuitous timing as their are a bunch of "aces" about to hit the market.
New York is yours for the taking.