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Klee: Trade Tulo? Don't do it, Rockies

By: PAUL KLEE The Gazette
July 7, 2014 Updated: July 7, 2014 at 8:09 pm
Caption +
Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki throws to first base to put out Los Angeles Dodgers' leadoff hitter Dee Gordon in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Sunday, July 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER - Sitting on a dugout bench at Coors Field on Monday, Padres manager Bud Black showed how a child's game can make adults cry.

Black recalled his conversation with Tyson Ross, the San Diego pitcher who had just been named to his first All-Star game.

"It was emotional. I choked up," Black said. "Tyson choked up."

For a first-time All-Star, the honor can be a moment to remember. For a superstar such as Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, All-Star appearances are old hat. Still special, but the emotional sentiment isn't as strong as the first, second or third trip. Tulo's appearance in the Minneapolis All-Star game next week will be his fourth.

But it would be an emotional day in LoDo if the Rockies were to part ways with the shortstop they drafted in 2005 and have watched develop into one of the two or three best players in the game. Trade Tulo? Here's hoping that doesn't happen.

'Tis the season for trade talk. With Tulo on an MVP-caliber tear and his team tumbling from relevance, again, the 29-year-old is bound to be the target of trade speculation when the baseball world converges on Minnesota. That's the way it goes.

Here's hoping it's just talk. Hey, I get it. Pitching rules baseball. Entering Monday, the Giants had scored 80 fewer runs than the Rockies yet lead them by 121/2 games.

With a team batting average (.281) that tops the National League but a team record (37-52) that is diving toward the NL West cellar, these Rockies are doomed.

So it's not hard to see why the prospect of acquiring several young arms - in exchange for Tulo - is viewed as an attractive proposition in some circles. Even so, the idea of trusting the Rockies front office to land the right players in return for Tulo should cause great concern.

I trust Tulo to make good baseball decisions. The Rockies front office? After the mess that has unfolded over the past two-plus seasons, not so much.

There are more reasons to hope the Rockies don't part with Tulo. On Monday before a game against the Padres, manager Walt Weiss said, yes, there are parallels between the work ethics of their two All-Stars, Tulo and Charlie Blackmon.

"A lot of similarities between the two. Almost obsessive," Weiss said. "I guess you could say obsessive - about the game every night, about their careers, being great. That's the common denominator between the two of them."

When Tulo talks, teammates listen. On a roster with promising talents such as Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, D.J. LeMahieu and Corey Dickerson, it's a bonus to have a student of the game such as Tulowitzki a few lockers away.

When a Giants TV announcer accused Tulo of stealing signs during his red-hot April, the shortstop didn't validate the opinion by giving it a response. But he was genuinely bothered by the accusation because of how he's worked to get those numbers.

Tulowitzki leads baseball in batting average (.350), on-base percentage (.442), OPS (1.046) and runs (62). What about the injuries from past seasons cut short?

"Sometimes it's just bad luck. But the guys that play hard all the time are at a higher risk to injury," Weiss said. "In my mind, that's the only way to play the game. Unless you are supremely talented, it's very difficult to play on cruise control at this level.

"Very few I've ever seen be able to pull that off. That's the trade-off for going out there every day and playing hard every day. Your body's going to break down at some point. You heal up and you go out and do it again. That's a challenge every athlete has to overcome at some point."

Tulowitzki was named to the All-Star game with the most votes of any player in the National League. Fans know the Rockies' problem is pitching. It usually has been.

So fix that. But here's hoping the Rockies don't move baseball's best shortstop.


Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

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