November 09, 2013

Do #Cardinals want Tulowitzki?

Ken Rosenthal at Fox says the Rockies should want to trade Troy Tulowitzki to the Cardinals. I'm not buying his suggested purchase price for the deal, though. Not even close.

Would you as a Cards fan sign off on this mass deal with the Rockies?
Tulo to the Cardinals for – deep breath now – first baseman Allen Craig, right-handers Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal and a fourth, lesser prospect, with the Rockies paying a chunk of Tulowitzki’s remaining $130 million.
To replace Pete Kozma?

Not me. Any deep breath would be to exhale any of the crack Ken Rosenthal is smoking.

And, agree or disagree, with me or Rosenthal, I've got a poll up now, and you can make your comment on best shortstop upgrade options.

First, trading two solid pitchers, both of whom would surely start for the Rockies (and Rosenthal should be given a way to do that in St. Louis via the trade of one other starter) seems a bit high. Certainly, adding in a fourth player, to be determined, is a huge overpay even if the Rockies would eat some of Tulo's salary.
Bernie Miklask of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch agrees on how stupid this is.
The notion that the Cardinals would give up Miller and Matt Adams and someone like Trevor Rosenthal for Tulowitzki is absurd, and anyone who seriously proposes that must have experienced some sort of foul-up in their medication. Because it's goofy. 
Well put.

Did Rockies staff, even if they claim that Tulo is untouchable, pay Rosenthal to propose this? Is Rosenthal overestimating how much the Cards want to pay, in either money or the coin of trade, to upgrade? Is he overvaluing Tulo? A bit of all of the above, including the snarky first question?

At most, and with Colorado eating less of Tulo's salary but still a certain chunk, I'd offer Craig, Miller and Lance Lynn, and no fourth prospect. Seriously, Ken, not Trevor, Rosenthal is smoking some sort of crack if he thinks this is a reasonable deal.

Even with the Rockies eating some of Tulo's pay, he's got fairly high Coors/road splits, and that injury history.

On the splits, here's my St. Louis prediction for him:
.280 BA .350 OBP .460 SLG .810 OPS. Note that his OPS+, which is park-adjusted, has never been over a very good but not at all fantastic 140. Most of what base-running speed he used to have has faded away. (His career road stats are .276 BA, .348 OBP, .471 SLG, .819 OPS.) Numbers like what I project and his career road splits show would give him an OPS+ of 115-120 or so. Again, nice, but not world beating.

I mean, those are all nice, but they're not end of the world. This is why I keep reminding Cards fans who lust after Tulo that he plays in Coors.

Back to the Cards' side of Rosenthal's proposed deal. Craig has approximately the same OPS+ as Tulo. He's not a Gold Glover, but Tulo hasn't been for a couple of years, and while 1B is a lower-leverage fielding position than SS, we shouldn't give Tulo too, too much extra weight on that. Add in that team-friendly long-term contract that the Cards inked on Craig, and, unless Rosenthal is proposing that Colorado eat at least half, if not more than that, of Tulo's contract, this sounds stupider and stupider the more I think of it.

It's not as dumb as Ray DeRousse's idea, discussed here. of trading Miller plus David Freese for Jurickson Profar, although it is close, in my opinion. It is also certainly dumber than my idea of trading the two of them (which might be a bit of overpay) for the Angels' Erick Aybar, touted here. At both those links, I discuss free agent options that are better than Rosenthal's ideas, too, including Jhonny Peralta or former Cards SS Rafael Furcal.

Just wow on Rosenthal. So, the answer to the rhetorical question in my header is almost certainly no, not at Rosenthal's price. It doesn't make sense to me, and it doesn't fit the style in which John Mozeliak has built the team.

And, it doesn't make sense for other reasons. ESPN recently noted that this year was the lowest-scoring year in MLB in 20 years. Busch Stadium is slightly pitcher-friendly. So, why shouldn't the Cards have some degree of focus on pitching and defense? And not overspend on upgrading at a defense-first position? Also, given a world in which Ricky Nolasco wants a 5-year, $80-million contract, and some team will be dumb enough to pay it, why shouldn't the Cards play a bit hard to get instead? Let others come to them begging for some pitching help. After all, Matheny's managerial shakiness aside, this is a team that's at least made it to the NLCS three straight years. (And, this is eventually going to become a separate blog post, trust me.)

Update: And, as of Nov. 14, no thanks on Peralta, if he's wanting 3/$45M, a massive, massive, overpay. There's also an attitude issue, and I don't care what fellow Tigers players said about his clubhouse presence. There's an attitude issue for him wanting that much money coming off the roiding suspension, and who's only busted 115 on OPS+ twice since 2005?


Anonymous said...

You say Miller and Freese for Profar would be crazy and I am in total agreement. But get this: Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch says Texas would demand even MORE for this skinny kid who was shuffled around the infield in the minors--making a ton of errors at SS--and who has yet to demonstrate he can handle ML pitching. Of course, he did swipe two bases while being thrown out four times.

OTOH, let's acknowledge Freese is currently a question mark [his value is down, but he is still capable of having a very solid career] and Shelby Miller-having just turned 23--always a top prospect who is now a proven ML starting pitcher (stats: 16-9 2.94 ERA)

Every front office in the Majors [with the apparent exception of the Rangers'] is drooling over Miller. Yes, I know that Profar is very highly ranked, but can someone explain why the Cardinals shouldn't be demanding Profar plus another player for Miller alone?

Gadfly said...

You got it. In fact, with Miller and the other pitching talent, and a team that at least made it to the NLCS three years in a row, why do the Cardinals need to be such "chasers" of trades anyway? In a world where Nolasco says he wants $80M, why don't we just kick back and let others come to us?