It’s no secret the Mets would love to trade for Carlos Gonzalez, and one baseball executive with insight into the Rockies’ thinking says Colorado is likely to seriously consider offers for Gonzalez and even Troy Tulowitzki this winter as it looks to rebuild. However, the Rockies would be looking for a package built around young position players, as opposed to pitching, making it unlikely the Mets would be a good match. A source says the Rockies consider it too risky trading for young pitching, given the difficulties they’ve had developing pitching in the high-altitude, hitter-friendly conditions in Colorado.
If the Rockies are indeed looking for a deal centered around young position players, the Mets would be in a tough spot. As Harper notes later in the article, though, the Mets could always look to get a third team involved in order to make things work.
However, I’m a bit skeptical that the Rockies would be unwilling to deal one of Gonzalez or Tulowitzki for a package headlined by a stud pitching prospect. It’s way too general to say the Rockies “consider it too risky trading for young pitching.” With the thin air of Colorado, free agent pitchers tend to have no interest in relocating to Coors Field unless they’re overpaid by a large margin, and the Rockies have had a problem developing and keeping their own quality pitchers.
If the Mets were to dangle a pitcher such as Noah Syndergaard (who the team privately has said is off limits), one would think Colorado would seriously consider a deal. Syndergaard has given up 15 home runs total in his four year minor league career. His propensity to keep the ball in the park while missing bats (he struck out 11.5 hitter per 9 this year in AA) should make him very tantalizing for a club that plays its home games in Coors Field.
While the Mets would love to land Gonzalez, the uncertainty surrounding Matt Harvey makes dealing young pitching that much riskier. Harper continues:
If Harvey is gone for 2014 the Mets will feel less comfortable trading some of that other young pitching. Still, people close to the situation say Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson has made it known privately that he hoped he could trade for Gonzalez at some point, giving the Mets the power-hitting outfielder they desperately need.
As is noted above, the Mets have been implying recently that Noah Syndergaard is close to off limits. If the Mets are able to convince Colorado to take Syndergaard as the centerpiece in a deal for Gonzalez (or get a third team involved), that thinking could change. The Mets need two corner outfielders, and they need power in the worst way. Eventually, something will have to give.
As far as Troy Tulowitzki is concerned, dealing for him (and unloading top prospects) is a much riskier proposition. Tulowitzki is owed $130 million through 2018, and has had trouble staying on the field during his career. He played only 101 games in 2008, 122 in 2010, 47 last year, and has been limited to 114 so far this season.
While Tulowitzki is a dynamic player when he’s healthy, he simply hasn’t been healthy often enough for the Rockies to expect a ransom back in return for him. They can ask for whatever they want, but any team that decimated their farm system for Tulowitzki would be taking a huge chance.
If the Rockies are willing to treat a Tulowitzki trade as part salary dump, that would make more sense. However, if they’re expecting an incredible return and for their trade partner to pay the oft injured Tulowitzki’s full salary, they should probably take the Mets and Sandy Alderson off their list of calls to make.