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Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez aren’t going anywhere this winter. Rockies owner Dick Monfort said Wednesday he does not intend to trade either all-star.
“The plan is to keep them. Next year, yes. And my plan is to always keep them,” Monfort said. “Is that the smartest thing in the world to do? I don’t know. But for our fans I think it’s the best thing to do.”
In a wide-ranging interview at Coors Field, Monfort addressed the team’s front-office structure, a planned player payroll increase to between $90 million and $95 million next year and his desire to add a starting pitcher and big bat to a team that has had three straight losing seasons.
Despite consecutive last-place finishes, Monfort said he will not alter the structure that has assistant general manager Bill Geivett in charge of day-to-day major-league operations and reporting to Dan O’Dowd, who is in charge of the Rockies’ player development but is also the boss of the front office.
“I really don’t think either one has done a poor job,” Monfort said.
The owner talked specifically about the Rockies’ finances and said he expects the player payroll to expand by about $9 million for 2014 from the estimated $83.7 million this past season.
Monfort hopes that will enable the Rockies to bring in a middle-of-the-rotation starting pitcher, as well as a power-hitting outfielder who possibly could play first base too.
He disagreed with those who contend he doesn’t have a passion to bring winning baseball to Colorado.
“I want to win at everything, even checkers,” Monfort said, adding that a realistic goal is getting the Rockies into the playoffs “a couple of times every five years.”
The immediate plan to get the Rockies out of the National League West basement and into the postseason revolves around Tulowitzki, their all-star shortstop, and Gonzalez, their all-star left fielder.
“I love those two guys,” Monfort said. “And if they ever get on a tear … In Tampa Bay, every once in a while, Evan Longoria just carries them and we have two guys who can carry a team.”
Monfort said Geivett will continue to operate the day-to-day business of the major-league team, while O’Dowd will oversee the minor-league operations and player development.
He doesn’t believe the unusual front-office setup creates confusion for teams trying to make deals with the Rockies.
“It’s not that we have two GMs, it’s that they just switched roles,” Monfort said. “I think most teams have someone who is focused just on the major-league team. I think there is no normal GM role, it changes for every team.”
All major-league clubs will receive $54 million in national TV revenue next season. It amounts to a $27 million bump in new money, Monfort said, a large chunk of which already is earmarked.
After mandatory payments to Major League Baseball’s line of credit and to MLB’s central fund, and without home games against the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox, Monfort said it leaves the Rockies “where we could stretch up to about $91 million, and maybe even go up to $95 million” on player payroll. He said the Rockies had revenue of about $162 million this year and the “rule of thumb” for player payroll is about 50 percent of revenue.
The Rockies haven’t reached the playoffs since 2009 and have appeared in only one World Series, getting that far in 2007. Still, Monfort believes the Rockies have enough money, as well as the business model, to compete.
“I would say if Oakland, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh can win, there’s no reason we can’t,” Monfort said.
On behalf of myself, Kate, Tulo Fans visitors and the rest of the amazing Rockies fans, we would like to wish Tulo a very happy 29th birthday! We all are wishing you a great year full of happiness, joy, love, luck, success, health and peace. And most importantly, thanks for being such an inspiration to all of us.
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The offseason promises speculation and improved health for Troy Tulowitzki.
He knows there will be trade rumors connected to his name — especially as long as the Cardinals, and perhaps Yankees, need an everyday shortstop. While the team’s season has not gone as hoped, the two-time all-star has avoided leg problems that ruined 2012.
He missed 25 games with a fracture of his fifth right rib. But the groin injury, other than a strain in May that cost him a few games, never proved to be an issue.
“My offseason will be different. I will be going into this feeling better than I ever have,” Tulo witzki said. “All last (offseason), I was meeting with the physical therapist every day. My focus was on getting in the lineup on opening day. My focus this winter will be on getting better.”
Tulowitzki said his rib injury has healed. He still feels it sometimes, but it doesn’t affect his swing or his range defensively. Tulowitzki entered Wednesday batting .313 with 22 home runs, 48 extra-base hits, and 73 RBIs. He has committed seven errors in 536 chances, leaving him a contender for his third gold glove, though he will face tough competition from the Braves’ Andrelton Simmons.
Tulowitzki turns 29 next month and has $134 million remaining on his contract. Even with a stint on the disabled list, he ranks second among all shortstops in home runs to Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy.
“It gives me confidence the way my leg has responded. It has days where it’s sore, but that’s part of it,” Tulowitzki said. “I am looking forward to improving.”
PHILADELPHIA — If one asks Troy Tulowitzki about his success in the second half of seasons, he will say that’s just baseball.
“I don’t see it as a grind,” Tulowitzki said. “I guess when you have as many injuries as I have had, you understand how great it is just to play. I love this game, I love to play it, and that’s something I’ve learned the older I’ve gotten.”
Tulowitzki has begun to find the groove that has made him one of the game’s most feared hitters. Over his seven-game hit streak entering Wednesday night’s game against the Phillies, Tulowitzki hit .407 (11-for-27) with home runs in back-to-back games against Philadelphia. That marked the fifth time he hit home runs in back-to-back games this year and 25th in his career.
“It’s baseball,” Tulowitzki said. “Sometimes you’re comfortable, and sometimes you’re off. A couple weeks ago I was off a little bit. It comes and goes. As you get older you understand that a little better.”
Tulowitzki extended his hitting streak with a single in the first inning Wednesday.
As part of its new biennial induction process, Long Beach State will add nine new members into the Long Beach State Athletics Hall of Fame on November 12 at the Long Beach Convention Center. The decorated group of athletes and coaches including Major League Baseball All-Star Troy Tulowitzki, late football coaching legend George Allen, current Virginia Tech men’s basketball head coach Seth Greenberg and the 1989 College World Series baseball team.
“We’re very proud to announce this outstanding class of inductees for the Long Beach State Hall of Fame,” said Long Beach State Athletic Director Vic Cegles in the official press release. The Long Beach State Athletics Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1986 and includes more than 175 members. The 2013 Hall of Fame induction class also includes former student-athletes Cassie Azevedo, Alexis Crimes, Patty Gasso, Jason Hinkin, and Shawn Wilbourn.
“The accomplishments and achievements of this group truly represent the best in what Long Beach State Athletics has to offer,” added Cegles.
On top of the marquee is one of the most famous Long Beach coaches and a Pro Football Hall of Fame member. George Allen came to Long Beach State in 1990, coaching the 49ers for one memorable and final season after 12 years in the NFL. Under Allen’s direction, the 49ers posted a perfect 6-0 record at home and won their final three games in that season before his untimely death during that offseason. George Allen Field, the home of Long Beach State women’s soccer, was dedicated in his honor in August of 1991.
Tulowitzki, a three-time Major League Baseball All-Star, headlines the players to be inducted. He starting for three-years at shortstop for the Dirtbags, hitting .310 with 20 home runs, and was named first-team All-Big West as a sophomore and as a junior before being selected as the No. 7 overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft. Tulowitzki was the National League Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2007 and is a two-time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger as one of the best shortstops in professional baseball.
Speaking of Dirtbags, the class will also include the second team ever honored in Long Beach State Hall of Fame history. The 1989 Long Beach State baseball team is linked with every team to follow as the original “Dirtbags.” Under first-year head coach Dave Snow, the “Dirtbags” got their nickname from dusty practice uniforms and gritty play that helped them win a school-record 50 games and advanced the 1989 College World Series, the first Long Beach State team to go to Omaha.
The second head coach being inducted, Greenburg, led the 49ers to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in his six years while he posted a 105-70 record and still ranks second all-time in career coaching victories at Long Beach State behind only Jerry Tarkanian. Greenberg also won the 1995-96 Big West regular-season title, and coached the last two 49ers to play in the NBA in Luscious Harris and Byron Russell.
The football heritage will also be honored with the induction of former defensive back Shawn Wilbourn. In 1990 as a senior, he was an All-Big West selection after he led the 49ers with 96 tackles while adding an interception, a forced fumble and four fumble recoveries. Wilbourn was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and he also set a Long Beach State school record in the decathlon that stood until 2006 and is still the third-highest mark in school history.
Back to the dugout, 2012 NFCA Hall of Fame Inductee Patty Gasso, playing under her maiden name Patty Froelich with the 49ers, was a softball standout in the team’s early years during the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Moving into coaching, Gasso spent four seasons at Long Beach City College before taking the head coaching job at Oklahoma, where she has posted a 1032-338-3 overall record, reaching the Women’s College World Series eight times and winning two national championships in 2000 and just this last summer with a 2013 team that played for its state after devastating tornados.
From track and field, Jason Hinkin is one of the most successful individual athletes in Long Beach State history. A five-time All-American in the pole vault, Hinkin was the last 49er to win an individual national championship, earning the honor with a school-record 18’ 6.5” performance. Hinkin also still holds the school record in the outdoor pole vault, clearing 18’ 7.5”, and was a two-time Big West Champion in the event.
The 49ers will also induct Cassie Azevedo, the highest-scoring women’s water polo player in the program’s history. With 209 goals in her career, Azevedo is the school record holder and led the 49ers in goals in both 2005 and 2006. She was also a three-time All-American, a four-time All-MPSF selection and helped the 49ers reach the No. 3 ranking during the 2005 campaign.
Finally representing women’s volleyball will be four-time All-American Alexis Crimes. The 2006 Big West Player of the Year, Crimes was one of the most productive hitters in school history, ranking third all-time in career kills with 1,756 behind only Tara Cross and Danielle Scott, also Hall Of Fame members. Crimes hit .364 in her career as a dominant middle blocker and has continued her career playing with USA Volleyball and internationally.
For more information on tickets and the Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, please contact the 49er Athletic Department at (562) 985-7976.
It appears shortshop Troy Tulowitzki will return from injury in time to play in the All-Star Game. But will it be in time to save the Rockies’ season? Colorado’s record was an ugly 9-16 in 25 games Tulo missed with a cracked rib. But as the team opens a critical National League West series against the Dodgers, Colorado stood only 3.5 games out of first place in the division.
Can Colorado still win this thing? Pains me to say it, but I think the West has been won. Not by Arizona, which currently resides atop the division. The prohibitive favorite is Los Angeles, because in a mediocre division, the Dodgers boast the best hitter (Yasiel Puig) and best pitcher (Clayton Kershaw). Listen to Peter Burns and I argue it out here.
What do you think? Has Tulowitzki returned in time to rescue the dream of Colorado in the playoffs?