Things are coming to a head for the Colorado Rockies and not just because they play a mile high. Troy Tulowitzki, the longtime face of the franchise, could be on the verge of making a push to get himself removed from what has become a losing and toxic situation.

The Rockies open a four-game set against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Thursday, at which point Tulowitzki will meet with his agent, Paul Cohen, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

On the agenda? The possibility—or, more accurately, the likelihood—that the star shortstop and his representative could broach the idea of requesting a trade out of Colorado.

“To say that [asking for a trade] is not a possibility would be silly,” says Cohen, who is set to meet with his client to get a read on how things have gone at the outset of 2015.

The short answer? Uh, not good.

After a semi-surprising start that saw them get to 7-2 right out of the gate and 11-8 as recently as April 27, the Rockies predictably have fallen apart, losing nine straight since to drop to 11-17 as of Tuesday and fall into last place in the NL West.

As Sherman writes:

Tulowitzki was described as frustrated with four straight losing seasons and wants out, according to two people who know him well. Cohen would not describe Tulowitzki’s mindset, but it was clear in a 15-minute conversation Cohen clearly sees the value of his client moving to a better place for his mind and body (not playing in high altitude any longer).

Folks, this situation could get ugly—and quickly.

The season is barely six weeks old, and already Colorado, which has endured four straight losing years, appears to be in the middle of yet another sub-.500 campaign.

This time, though, it’s more than that. It’s time for the Rockies to move on from the current crop of talent centered around Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez—who entered Tuesday hitting .196, by the way—and undertake a rebuild.

The fans in Denver are once again getting fed up. There’s talk once again about boycotting Coors Field to make a point to an ownership that has not only remained steadfastly (and irrationally) against trading its two big-name stars, but also has opened itself up to criticism by calling out the fanbase itself.

“It could get to the point for [owner] Dick Monfort and [general manager] Jeff [Bridich] that the storyline every day with the team is when is Tulowitzki being traded,” Cohen said, per Sherman. “That is negative for the franchise as the idea of trading the face of the franchise. They are smart enough to recognize they don’t want that going forward.”

In short, the Rockies’ awful—and already lost—season is reaggravating an already tense situation between the ownership and tired-of-losing fanbase, with new GM Bridich caught in the middle as the one person who could lose all kinds of leverage as soon as news breaks that Tulowitzki has asked for (or demanded) a trade.

In fact, Tulowitzki made noise last July when he opened up about the idea of getting out of Colorado so that he could “be somewhere where there’s a chance to be in the playoffs every single year,” as he told Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post.

Thing is, Tulowitzki is not an especially sought-after commodity at the moment. Sure, he’s one of the five or 10 best players in baseball when he’s healthy and playing well, especially considering he handles a premium up-the-middle position too.

But this also is a 30-year-old who, due to a lengthy injury history, has played more than 130 games just three times in eight would-be full seasons (and parts of 10 total seasons). Over the past three years from 2012-14, although Tulowitzki posted an average triple-slash line of .316/.399/.551, he also participated in only 264 out of a possible 486 contests—or just over 50 percent.

Oh, and he’s coming off major hip surgery that ended his 2014 in mid-July.

There’s also the ever-increasing probability that Tulowitzki will need to move off shortstop in the near future to a less demanding position like third base, which only drops his value further. And a trade would mean leaving behind the hitter haven that is Coors Field, which could negatively impact his elite offensive production.

On top of all that, Tulowitzki is owed $118 million through 2020 and has a clause in his contract that guarantees him an extra $2 million as well as full no-trade rights going forward if he’s swapped.

As is, it’s likely we have seen the best of Tulowitzki. A four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glover who has received MVP votes in six seasons, he is hitting a very respectable .307 this year but managed only two home runs so far while striking out 23 times against only two walks in his first 28 games.

As for possible destinations, there are a handful of teams that have both an opening or need at shortstop (or third base) as well as the financial wherewithal to take on most, if not all, of Tulowitzki‘s contract.

Among them? The underachieving Seattle Mariners, the wheeling-and-dealing San Diego Padres and the win-now Los Angeles Angels (perhaps at third base), as well as both New York teams, with the Mets more desperate for a shortstop solution than the Yankees.

Much like the unrest among Rockies fans, the possibility of a Tulowitzki trade has been simmering below the surface for some time now. But there’s only so long a situation can bubble before it eventually spills over.

The Rockies and their franchise face have just about reached that boiling point.


Statistics are accurate as of Tuesday, May 12, and courtesy of and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

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