Continuing our tour around the NL West, news broke yesterday that the Colorado Rockies have extended Troy Tulowitzki to a six year deal that starts in 2015. That means the Rockies have control of their star shortstop through the 2020 season.
Tulowitzki will earn $38.75 million through 2014 on his current contract, then the extension kicks in and Tulo will make $119M from 2015 through 2020 (almost $20M per season). Locking up a star player is usually a positive, especially when you’re buying out a couple of arbitration and/or free agent years and have the player under control through his prime years.
The puzzling aspect of this deal, however, is that is doesn’t actually start – the extension, that is – until Tulo’s age-30 season and it ends when he’ll be 35 years old. Any long-term deal is hard to evaluate, for various reasons, but this one is nearly impossible.
You have to gauge, at minimum, three different aspects surrounding the deal going forward: Tulowitzki’s projected performance, the Rockies competitiveness going forward, and finally the future economic climate in baseball.
This deal could turn out to be an absolute steal if Tulowitzki continues to develop into a star player (in three of his four full seasons his WAR has been over five) and remains one into his thirties, the Rockies field competitive teams over those years, and baseball salaries show a solid increase over that period.
On the other hand it could be a total disaster if one or two of those things don’t come true, with the most emphasis of course being placed on the young shortstop’s performance.