Jeff Passan recently reported for Yahoo Sports that The Cardinals are interested in acquiring a shortstop, and regardless of public statements from the Rockies that Troy Tulowitzki is not available for a trade, he indeed is available at the right price.
The article goes as far as claiming the two teams have had informal talks:
Officials from the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies are expected to meet at the GM/owners’ meetings in Orlando this week and discuss parameters of a potential trade involving Troy Tulowitzki, which already has been broached in informal talks between the parties, sources with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo Sports
The bigger hurdle though may be Tulo’s no-trade clause, as opposed to The Rockies unwillingness to trade him. The article tries to speculate that his close friendship with Matt Holliday would lead him to waive the clause, but at this point that is nothing more than pure speculation.
So what’s the most the Cardinals would give up for Tulowitzki? Or, more specifically, what’s the most that they should give up? It appears that either Matt Adams and Allen Craig are on the table. Colorado wants a first baseman to replace the retiring Todd Helton. It appears that out of those two, Adams will be the one to go, as both are under similar team-friendly contracts.
Last year with 319 Plate Appearances, Adams hit: .284/.335/.503. 136 wRC+. WAR: 1.7
Last year with 563 Plate Appearances, Craig hit: .315/.373/.457. 135 wRC+. WAR: 2.6
Both players are remarkably similar. Good slash lines, Craig favors on base a little more while Adams has a stronger slugging pct. And both players play below-average defensive which brings their WARs down.
Comparing this to Tulowitzki last year over 512 Plate Appearances: .312/.391/.540. 143 wRC+. WAR: 5.6
Tulo is also a very good defender. So with this basic comparison, it seems The Cardinals would win this trade with either Craig/Adams for Tulo straight.
But I don’t think The Rockies would be so dumb to take this trade straight, and as the article points out, they are also seeking a pitcher in the trade. So possible pitchers they are seeking along with a first baseman:
Shelby Miller: 2013 – 15-9. 3.06 ERA. 3.67 FIP. 2.1 WAR
Giving up Miller seems to be a big deal. He was projected for years to be our starter for the future and seems to be a bigger loss than Matt Adams. His image is down a bit because of his shut down late last year, but he also had a great year and is expected to have a strong career. And, as pointed out on our site, it was smart to shut him down.
Michael Wacha: 2013 – 4-1. 2.78 ERA. 2.92 FIP. WAR: 1.1
Wacha is the flip side of Miller. He wasn’t projected to be a better pitcher than Miller and due to a hot streak late in the season, his stock is higher. The big question mark with Wacha is whether he is really the pitcher he was at the end of the year, or if it was an anomaly.
Wacha may be the smarter of the two to trade. He is still more in the development stage than Miller and is more of a wild card. His perceived stock right now is probably unrealistically high, and putting him in the package could possibly return a another player or a prospect along with Tulo.
The Passan article makes it sound like The Cardinals are more likely to deal Miller than Wacha, claiming: “sources said (The Cardinals) would not entertain a deal that includes rookie Michael Wacha.”
Since this is just from anonymous sources, it’s unclear the logic or reasoning for this, but that seems to be the case.
Lance Lynn: 2013 – 15-10. 3.97 ERA. 3.28 FIP. WAR: 3.3
The initial reaction is possibly “Yes! Please take Lynn!” But when looking at his numbers, he had a rather comparable year to Miller. He may actually be enough for The Rockies to bite, and if not, Cards fans should take solace in knowing he isn’t as bad as you may think. And he can fill in nicely for years to come for whoever we may lose.
Kevin Siegrist: The flame-throwing lefty closer didn’t pitch much last year, but is still projected to be a lights-out closer. Could possibly be enough to acquire Tulo.
Tulowitzki is the best shortstop in baseball. Giving up Adams/Craig and Miller/Wacha would be a steep price, though you are essentially upgrading from the worse shortstop in baseball to the best. But if The Cards are nervous about giving up so much for one player, Passan points out that possible cheaper alternatives as Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar are available, for presumably less than it would take to acquire Tulo.
Tulowitzki is only 29 years old and his contract would carry him to 2020, with a club option for 2021. He also receives a 2 million dollar bonus if traded. Though as Vivaelbirdos points out, it could be a pitcher rather than a shortstop which would be worth trading Adams for.
Taking on Tulo would be a big endeavor. And losing Adams/Craig and Miller/Wacha would be equally huge. Is it worth it? What’s the most you would give up for the best shortstop in baseball?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section or talk to me on Twitter @ pchibbard.