If there’s one thing you can say about this era of Rockies baseball, one that has included five straight seasons with 73 or more losses, it’s that the team has shown a knack for executing big-ticket trades as ham-fistedly as possible.
In the middle of the 2011 season, the Rockies traded fading ace Ubaldo Jimenez right as he was taking the mound, leading to a bizarre scene in which Jimenez had to be removed from his start after pitching just one inning. Last night, the Rockies pulled off their first blockbuster trade since that day, completing a deal to send Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays, and according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, it came as a complete surprise to Tulowitzki and everyone in the clubhouse:
There was always an agreement between Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort and his star shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, spoken out loud so as to be abundantly clear: If the Rockies were to trade Tulowitzki, they were going to ask for his blessing first. Then came the blockbuster deal that sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays late Monday night, and Tulowitzki, according to sources inside the Rockies’ clubhouse, found out not via a phone call but when teary-eyed manager Walt Weiss yanked him from their game in the ninth inning.
If you don’t believe that Tulo had no idea the trade was going down, take a look at his face after he was suddenly yanked from the game in the ninth inning last night:
That’s an “I did not see that shit coming!” face.
What’s more interesting than the substance of Passan’s report is how he came by the information. He cites “aggrieved” sources within the clubhouse, a pretty clear indication that he spoke to a handful of Rockies players who are not enthused about how the team handled trading one of the best players in franchise history.
How and when a player finds out that he’s been traded seems like a minor thing to get hung up on—especially since the Rockies and Tulo have been on a trade-me-don’t-trade-me see-saw for the better part of a year—but stuff like this actually does matter to the people in the clubhouse. It’s not as if Rockies players are going to start striking out on purpose in protest, but when some suit starts in about loyalty and respect at the bargaining table, they may well remember just how much the team showed Troy Tulowitzki.