Rockies Mishandled Tulowitzky; Now They Are Paying

Posted on May 4, 2008. Filed under: Baseball |

Troy Tulowitzky had a great year in 2007. In fact, he had one of the greatest rookie years by a shortstop in the history of baseball. So, you can’t blame management for lavishing him with one of the largest contracts ever offered to a second year player in the history of any sport, can you? Maybe not, but you should. Because they damaged the team, damaged Major League Baseball as a whole, and may have ruined the promising player’s career.

Other than that, it was a great idea.

Other players have had great, maybe even greater years, and didn’t get contracts even close to Tulowitzky’s. Take Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies, for example. He had a pretty good year in 2005, hitting 22 homeruns in just 88 games and winning Rookie of the Year, but the Phillies didn’t offer him a multi-year deal. In 2006, Howard had an even bigger year, hitting 58 homers and winning the MVP. The Phillies still didn’t sign him to a multiyear contract, signing him instead to a one year, $10 million deal.

By signing Tulowitzki before he was eligible for arbitration, the Rockies accomplished a lot of things, all of them bad:

  1. They set up the probability of a bad year in 2008. Once players sign big contracts, they almost always have a let down of some sort. In Troy’s case, he was probably not in top shape, causing him to start out poorly in the field and at the plate. Additionally, his conditioning may have played a part in the tearing of a tendon that will keep him out of the lineup until after the All-Star break.
  2. They flew into the face of logic, baseball tradition, and their own history in giving players large contracts based on speculation. Tulo had a huge year in 2007, but there was ample evidence to believe that he could not repeat it in 2008. Ever heard of the “sophomore jinx”, Monforts? Nobody in their right minds would give a rookie with so little experience that kind of money based on a single campaign. The Rockies own Manager, Clint Hurdle, shoud be a great reminder of that fact. He had a great year in his initial season in the Majors and never approached that standard afterward.
  3. They have incurred the wrath of all of the rest of baseball’s owners, who will now be pressured by agents of all successful rookies to give them Tulo-like contracts.
  4. They created an environment whereby their other young stars will expect insane contracts like Tulowitzky’s, except the team can’t afford them.

So if you thought the Meatboys were learning from their experience or “No longer dealin'” Dan O’Dowd was now an older and wiser man, you were wrong. The longer these boobs run the team, dumber they get.

The Baseball Observer

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