When the worst season in Rockies history ended, nobody, if only briefly, was untouchable. The brass discussed every scenario as a way to address deficiencies. Fantasy baseball has given way to reality — there are likely no blockbusters this week at baseball’s annual winter meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tenn.
While there undoubtedly will be rumors that the Rockies will look to move two-time all-star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki — the Cardinals were among those who called — team ownership has said he’s not going anywhere. But he’s moving better, a sprinkle of good news for a team that has been overshadowed by the roster moves of its National League West rivals.
After missing the final four months of the season following a left groin injury that required surgery to remove scar tissue, Tulowitzki has made significant progress in his recovery.
He’s expected to be fully cleared this month, as the strength in his leg has slowly and finally returned after beginning the offseason at less than 60 percent.
“I am feeling a lot better,” Tulowitzki said.
When asked if he was 100 percent healthy, he joked that he was at 98 percent. It has been a mentally draining process for Tulowitzki, who had hoped to play in the season’s final weeks, but his leg left him tentative and compromised running the bases and playing defense. Through work with a physical therapist in Las Vegas, the Rockies’ Gold Glove winner has made steady strides this winter. He’s taking steps to prevent further leg problems, adding more flexibility exercises and even yoga.
Tulowitzki batted .287 with a .360 on-base percentage, hitting eight home runs in 47 games, the fewest he has ever played in a season. At 28, he’s entering the prime of his career at a time when questions surround the Rockies’ franchise. Fan favorite Walt Weiss, a player Tulowitzki grew up watching in the Oakland-area as a boy, replaced Jim Tracy as a manager, agreeing to a one-year deal. During their recent local radio tour, owner Dick Monfort and general manager Dan O’Dowd said they wanted Weiss to be with the Rockies long term.
But this year sets up as an interesting experiment — Weiss adapting to his new role, while the Rockies enter their first full season with O’Dowd and director of baseball operations Bill Geivett sharing decision-making responsibilities.
O’Dowd will remain in Denver with scouts this week, texting and calling regarding deals. Geivett, meanwhile, will be in Nashville with Weiss and nearly the entire coaching staff, including new hitting instructor Dante Bichette. O’Dowd still oversees trades and free-agent signings — there are pitchers on the radar, including Kevin Correia and possibly Carlos Villanueva. Geivett, however, will make recommendations regarding roster construction.
If Fowler is moved, it would be to add a starting pitcher. Cincinnati is looking for a leadoff hitter and has a chip to play with starter Homer Bailey. Philadelphia could make a play for a leadoff hitter and have starting pitcher Vance Worley to offer. And Atlanta, even with B.J. Upton signed, can’t be ruled out completely. The Rockies asked about pitchers Mike Minor and Tommy Hanson, who was shipped to the Angels last week in exchange for reliever Jordan Walden.
Source: The Denver Post