Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Colorado: Be Wary of Tulo's New Deal

Reports are indicating that Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has signed a contract extension for 7 years, $134 million dollars.  He is already under contract with the Rockies through 2013, so the 7 year extension will keep him in Denver until 2020.  Over the next ten years, Tulo will make $157.75 million. That's Derek Jeter money for a shortstop (who Tulo has, in fact, been compared to).  Tulowitzki has been one of, if not the best, shortstop in baseball over the last couple years.  In 2009 and 2010, Tulo has a .305 average, a .379 on-base percentage, 59 homers and 187 RBI.  This past season, he led all shortstops in OBP (.381), homers (27) and RBI (95), while finishing second in average at .315.  He also won a Gold Glove in 2010.

So how is this a questionable deal for the Rockies?  They just signed one of the best in the game and the cornerstone of their franchise.  However, look at the two past megadeals that the Rockies have handed out.  Mike Hampton signed an 8 year, $121 million deal before the 2001 season. Backfired.  Todd Helton signed a 9 year, $141.5 million deal in 2001. Backfired (yes, Helton had some good seaons, but injuries have derailed his career and the Rockies were barely ever competitive during that contract except for 2007).  According to cbssports.com the Rockies 2010 payroll was the 16th highest in baseball at $84.2 million.  When Tulo's extension kicks in for the 2014 season, he will be payed $16 million just for that season and $20 million a season from 2015 to 2019 before making a base salary of $14 million in the final year of the contract.  $20 million is roughly 25% of the Rockies yearly payroll.  With how high baseball salaries are, it will be hard for the Rockies to put 24 quality players around Tulo in order to field a winning team.  Just as Hampton's deal and Helton's deal handicapped the Rockies, they may have just done the same thing by signing their franchise player to a hefty extension.  They may have a great player, but you shouldn't expect great teams in Denver during the next decade.

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