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Rounding Third: Buyer beware with Tulowitzki

By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - When healthy there are few players more talented than Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. However, the problem has always been keeping him on the field.

Colorado announced on Wednesday that Tulowitzki will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip. He hadn't played since July 19 because of the injury, but was hitting a major-league best .340 while collecting 21 home runs, 18 doubles, 52 RBI and 71 runs scored in 91 games.

Tulowitzki has always been the hot girl in the corner of the bar making eyes at you only to leave you hanging at the end of the night. Nobody has teased Rockies fans more than Tulo.

But he could become someone else's problem next season. Calling him a problem is probably a bit of an overstatement, considering Tulowitzki puts up MVP- caliber numbers when he plays. But most of the time we are lamenting over another injury.

As great as Tulowitzki may be, he has only played more than 150 games twice in his nine-year career and hasn't gone over 100 in two of the last three seasons.

His problems seem to stem from a torn left quadriceps he suffered early in 2008. Most experts agree that he has been compensating for left leg muscles that haven't fired properly since. That led to groin problems near the 2011 All-Star break, and was limited to 47 games in 2012 before undergoing surgery to remove scar tissue from his left groin.

Of course, the hope is that this latest procedure will help cure the leg ailments that have pretty much derailed his career. Tulowitzki is expected to be fully recovered by the time spring training rolls around.

"Full recovery time is around five months," said Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger. "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."

Where Tulowitzki will be getting ready for the 2015 season, though, is still very much up in the air.

"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."

Owed at least $118 million through 2021, most think Colorado is going to move Tulowitzki this offseason. Some actually thought they'd entertain offers at this year's deadline even with him hampered by injury.

If I was a team in the Tulowitzki market, though, I'd be very wary. Talented as anyone yes, but this is also player who has spent the majority of the last seven seasons on the shelf. One or two injuries maybe you can get past, but at this point you are more surprised when you see Tulo's name in the lineup.

I like to tell people trends are trends for a reason.

Yes there probably will be a point that he stays healthy for a full season and you know what, he'll likely win an MVP Award that same year, but do you want to mortgage your future at the chance that may actually happen? And spend upwards of $100 million for him?

Not to mention he'll be 30 at the start of next season.

That's how much talent he has, though. Even with all that teams are going to be lining up for his services this winter. The two teams in New York come immediately to mind.

The Mets are desperately in need of some offense with an abundance of young pitching at their disposal. Oh and in case you haven't heard the Yankees are going to need a shortstop next season.

I mentioned a few months back that Seattle would be an ideal landing spot for Tulowitzki, who could form perhaps the best offensive double-play combo in the history of baseball with Robinson Cano.

Point is Colorado will have options. They should get him out while they can. Move on, collect some young assets and start the rebuild. And move Carlos Gonzalez too while you are at it. Start over in one fell swoop.

I'd have to take a long hard look, though, if I am the one doing the buying.

08/14 12:11:08 ET

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