As a symbol of where they are in their rebuilding effort and the growing strength of their farm system, Mets officials have told their Rockies counterparts if Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez are ever made available, they want in on the action.
Rockies ownership has strongly stated it does not want to deal CarGo and, especially, Tulowitzki. But the extended run of poor play by the franchise, the growing contracts of the two players and the teeming disenchantment of the fan base has moved many within the industry to believe that decision could change, if not now, then this offseason.
An AL executive who checked in with the Rockies described a club in some disarray concerning who will be making front office decisions in the future, but not ready yet to trade a huge piece now. An NL executive said he believes owner Dick Monfort will consider the move more than ever, but ultimately is too loyal and committed to those players to move them.
But keep in mind Tulowitzki has indicated he has become frustrated playing his prime mainly in non-contention. And there is belief if he were to request a trade, ownership would strongly consider fulfilling his wishes. However, Tulowitzki has a no-trade provision, wears No. 2 in honor of Derek Jeter and is thought to be considerably more interested in being a Yankee than a Met. And Colorado already has expressed interest to the Yankees in their top pitching prospect, Luis Severino.
Plus, sources say the Cardinals owners of arguably the deepest farm system in the sport are enamored with Tulowitzki and would move significant pieces to land him. In fact, the market will be deep if Tulowitzki comes onto it, because he is viewed as one of the 10 best players in the majors.
And one NL executive said because Colorado always needs to address pitching, I actually see the Mets as their perfect partner.
The Mets want to add a shortstop (like Tulowitzki) and/or a left fielder (like CarGo) and see those as finishing pieces to being a sustained contender. That the Mets reached out to Colorado suggests a) they have the resources to add a significant long-term contract and b) their farm system is viewed within the sport as elite.
That last part is essential going forward to open doors for the Mets. The Rockies are said to think highly of Noah Syndergaard, Brandon Nimmo, Steven Matz, Dilson Herrera and others. In other words, the Mets if they are willing to part with some combination of good farmhands will be factors for CarGo, Tulowitzki or any other star that comes onto the market.
As for CarGo and Tulo, they share the same issues that will make teams wonder about how much to surrender: injury-prone histories, significant dollars owed and stats buoyed by playing home games at Coors Field.
Tulowitzki, 30 in October, has started 140 games at shortstop just three times in seven full years. He is being paid $14 million this season and then has five more years left at $104 million, plus a $2 million provision if he is traded and escalators to his base contracts based on among other items MVP finish. This season, Tulowitzki has a 1.246 OPS at home and .811 away, and it is .962/.818 for his career.
Gonzalez, who turns 29 in October, had spent a good chunk of this season on the disabled list after having a benign tumor removed from his left index finger. He has started 140 games just once in four full years in the majors. Gonzalez is earning $10.5 million this season and has three years at $53 million remaining on his contract from 2015-17. His home/road splits are .915/.598 this year and .987/.758 for his career. He is not perceived as the same level of star as Tulowitzki, but the lefty-swinging Gonzalez is still considered an above-average player.