The Colorado Rockies' season of misery and discontent seems to be without boundaries. With each new day comes a new low, and the latest blow to their battered pysche came on Wednesday when it was reported that All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will undergo labral repair surgery on his left hip Friday.
#Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki will undergo labral repair surgery on his left hip Friday in Vail, Colo. will miss rest of season.— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) August 14, 2014
Tulowitzki suffered the injury while running out a seemingly harmless ground ball on July 19 in Pittsburgh. He was initially diagnosed with a hip flexor strain and officially placed on the DL on July 22, which once again brought up the durability concerns that have surrounded the last few years of his stellar career. And this news certainly won't help ease those concerns.
Since suffering a torn left quadriceps early in 2008, Tulowitzki, 29, has been compensating for left leg muscles that haven't fired properly since. He battled groin problems near the 2011 All-Star break, and was limited t0 47 games in 2012 before undergoing surgery to remove scar tissue from his left groin.
"I'm looking forward to getting back and playing the game I love," Tulowitzki said Wednesday. "I will do everything I can to perform at a high level for the rest of my career. This should answer a lot of the leg issues I have had in my past."
For his sake, we hope so.
In eight full seasons, Tulowitzki has only topped 150 games played twice. Not surprisingly, those were Colorado's two playoff seasons in 2007 and '09. Since '09, he's topped 122 games only once, which is startling even for those aware of his health issues. And with the rest of this season washed out, that means Tulowitzki will have missed 222 games out of 486 over the past three seasons.
And not very appealing to teams who may have been interested in pursuing Tulowitzki in a possible trade this offseason.
Granted, the Rockies still aren't very motivated to trade the face of their franchise despite his not-so-subtle discontent. But even if they were to trade him at this point, Tulowitzki's latest setback almost guarantees they wouldn't receive equal value in the short term, let alone the unrealistic return they seem to be set on.
It also has to throw up a few red flags for his long-term value. Keep in mind, Tulowitzki, who will turn 30, still has six years and a guaranteed $118 million remaining after this season, plus a club option for 2021. That's a lot of money to take on with legitimate reason to wonder if you'll ever get what you're paying for.
With that said, of utmost importance now is how well Tulowitzki responds from the surgery. If all goes according to plan, we should know by spring training.
"Full recovery time is around five months," (Rockies athletic trainer Keith) Dugger said. "You get pretty active right around that three-month mark, sometimes a little sooner. There are kind of guidelines at certain time periods that we follow, range of motion, strengthening exercises, then you get into functional strengthening."
If Tulowitzki comes back full strength and has another strong first half, that's when the Rockies should look to trade him. Of course, that's assuming Colorado isn't in contention, but that's probably a safer bet than Tulowitzki staying healthy. If he can't stay healthy or rebound, then Colorado's chance to sell high will probably have passed, and the opportunity to kick-start their rebuild will pass with it.
Needless to say, this is an interesting offseason upcoming for Colorado on several different levels.
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