Over the weekend Canada’s National Post published a story about new Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, in which John Lott says the five-time All-Star felt betrayed by the organization that drafted him, the Colorado Rockies, after being promised by management that he wouldn’t be traded. Three months later, Tulo is still sour over the whole ordeal. But it’s really Rockies fans who ought to hold the most resentment now that the dust has finally settled.

They were the ones who had to bid farewell to a star who never fully embraced them, only to see him be replaced by another player who already wants out of town and now to suffer that same departed star still griping and moaning about the trade after being eliminated from the playoffs (in Game 6 of the ALCS, no less). Rockies fans had their playoff hopes mathematically snuffed out on Sept. 9 and had lost any realistic hope during a 1-9 slide that began June 10. For all of Tulowitzki’s troubles, things have been far worse for Rockies fans since before the trade even went through.

Tulo’s Troubles

The July 28 blockbuster that sent Tulowitzki and relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to the Jays in exchange for shortstop Jose Reyes and three pitching prospects “was definitely a shock,” Tulowitzki told the National Post, among others gathered after Toronto’s Game 6 ALCS loss to Kansas City. With Reyes, an All-Star in his own right, in place before him, Tulowitzki had never considered Toronto a possible destination. Then again, he didn’t think he was going to be traded in the first place.

The move came as an utter surprise to Tulowitzki, who told the Denver Post on the night of the trade: “I felt like I got blindsided a bit. I thought I was in the loop, in the conversation. So it definitely caught me by surprise. I was shocked and it caught me off guard. I think maybe I was a little naive to think I would be so connected to the [trade] process.”

Those feelings, apparently have not subsided, as he told reporters in Toronto following the  Game 6 loss, “You know what, and this is just being completely honest, it’s tough for me now to trust anybody in this game after what happened. I’m sure these guys [in the Toronto front office] are great here. But at the same time, with what happened, it’s really tough.”

Both Posts, cast an image of Tulo as a man who sees himself the downtrodden victim of a merciless Rockies front office who cast aside its superstar without warning or second thought, as the forlorn sufferer who had to uproot his family without notice and as a team leader whose emotional baggage (even if self-inflicted) made him an odd-man-out in his new clubhouse.

“I mean, these guys are great and I’m getting to know them,” Tulowitzki told the Canadian reporters. “But at the same time, when you don’t spend the whole year with the team, it’s hard to feel settled.”

Home, Somewhat Home

Tulowitzki was settled, relatively speaking, in Colorado where he and his family lived during the season; however, he maintained an offseason home in Las Vegas and was never as fully a part of the “Denver community” as fans (and perhaps management) might have liked.

Take the days that followed the ALCS as a prime example of how other athletes have fully “owned” the Denver community in ways that Tulowitzki never did. On Saturday night, former Rockies teammate Carlos Gonzalez, along with Broncos kicker Brandon McManus and Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried participated in a fashion show benefitting the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. On Monday Faried participated in a promotion with the car service Uber, driving lucky local residents around down. Faried is engrained in Denver. His departure would be a major loss in more ways than just rebounds.

Tulo’s community involvement, on the other hand, during his last few years in Colorado was limited to an automatic paycheck deduction that went directly to the Rockies’ charity fund and growing a mullet a couple years ago for Children’s Hospital and Special Olympics Colorado.

This isn’t to say that a player’s cohesion with his city is strictly tied to charity work. Kyle Kendrick would have a three-year contract extension in-hand if it was. But for a guy who was long considered the face of the franchise, it always seemed that Tulowitzki was always just a Cali kid playing ball in Colorado.

Todd Helton was handed the keys to a horse upon his retirement. What was Tulo going to get? Aside from his signature “clap-clap, clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap-clap, Tu-lo” chant, was there a signature Tulo thing to define his tenure? Bad as it may be to say this, CarGo should at least warrant a nice taco platter when he retires. His home runs and TV commercials have certainly served up enough of them for fans over the years. Jorge De La Rosa ought to get a humidor. What for Tulowitzki? An ACE bandage and shatterproof bat?

Out of Lineup, Out of Touch

Perhaps thats a bit harsh, as Tulowitzki has suffered the very unfortunate fate of having the size, skill and intensity of Cal Ripken Jr., without The Iron Man’s durability. It may be an unfair comparison, but the “injury-plauged” mantle is one Tulowitzki has never been able to shake. Even the National Post article touched on his late-season injuries that may have contributed to the lack of cohesion Tulowitzki had with his new teammates north of the border. But ask long-suffering Rockies fans their lasting impression of Tulowitzki and most will tell you it’s of ill-timed injuries, two-on two-out popups and solo home runs up/down by six.

Tulo’s time in Colorado had run its course long before the July 28 trade, a fact he alluded to in that conversation with writers in Toronto.

“I’m excited to go to spring training and get a fresh start with the team,” he said, “and be with these guys for a whole year and not have to worry about trade talks. The last three or four years I had to worry about it and talk about it every single day in Colorado.”

But, as Patrick Saunders pointed out in the Denver Post, “that’s an exaggeration on Tulo’s part. He didn’t have to talk about being traded ‘every single day’ for three or four years. And the truth is, Tulo brought some of that trade talk on himself.”

The Writing on the Wall

If Tulo was really being honest with himself, the trade should have come as no surprise. Trade rumors reached a fever pitch in May of this year when his agent, Paul Cohen, spilled the beans to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who wrote “it was clear in a 15-minute conversation that 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].”

In the days and weeks that followed, Tulowitzki and the Rockies vehemently denied that any such requests had been made or were forthcoming, putting up a united front that Tulo wanted to be in Denver and Denver wanted Tulo.

But a subsequent story from the New York Post (in mid-July) made it rather clear that Tulowitzki still had the trade on his mind. In it Tulowitzki was quoted as saying:

“The game is tough enough. It makes your mind spent at times. I’ve dealt with it for a couple of years now, all the [trade] talk, and I’m still in a Rockies uniform. It is what it is. It’s just rumors for now … You know what, I signed up to play in Colorado and that’s what I’m going to do. If they decide to do something, that’s on them. My job is just to be a player.”

Those words came just two weeks before the trade. They were less than two weeks after a series of incidents in which Tulowitzki effectively refused to play DH for manager Walt Weiss, telling him that if he was going to be in the lineup he was going to play defense.

Tulowitzki must take the Canadian press and Rockies fans for saps if they’re expected to believe he was so hurt and blindsided by the trade despite defying his manager and putting complete onus on the club for his trade status.

Not Fit for Consumption

Meanwhile, the fruits of the trade for the Rockies have been less than ripe.

Reyes said in August that he doesn’t want to stay in Colorado, playing for a last-place team. Who can blame him, really? But that’s no way to endear yourself to a fanbase in the event you do stick around.

Miguel Castro, the closest thing to a Major League-ready pitching prospect the Rockies acquired in the trade looked impressive with Albuquerque, posting a 1.32 ERA in 11 games, but couldn’t maintain that productivity when promoted to the big league club. With Colorado he was 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA in five appearances.

Jeff Hoffman and Jesus Tinoco both saw vast improvement from their production in the Toronto organization after coming over to the Colorado side, but both are probably at least two years away from sniffing time with the Rockies.

Rockies fans are no-doubt suffering a bout of “here we go again,” as they remember the long-term fallout from the Ubaldo Jimenez trade. At least that one didn’t come with a malcontent at shortstop.

Tulowitzki, on the other hand, enjoyed a run to Game 6 of the ALCS while the facilities managers at Coors Field were filling the toilets with antifreeze.

It’s Time to Move On

Readers would be right to say that this won’t help the situation, writing a column that derides Tulowitzki, and that it’s time to move on in Denver.

The same has been said about Jay Cutler, Carmelo Anthony and, more recently, Ty Lawson, among countless others who left the Mile High City under uneasy circumstances.

Indeed, it most certainly is time to move on. There was no reason for Tulowitzki to drag his current teammates or even the Rockies organization into the pity party he was holding for himself at season’s end. And there’s no reason to write about him after this.

No doubt it was a tough transition for Tulowitzki, leaving the team that drafted him seventh overall, and maybe even a bit of a surprise, at least in the where he ended up, but he has far less to be sad about than the fan base he left always wanting more.

Next year he’ll head to Spring Training in Florida for the first time in his life. He’ll drink grapefruit juice for every breakfast and he’ll be an All-Star shortstop for the defending AL East Champion Toronto Blue Jays.

Rockies fans, at the same time, will be wondering how long Reyes will be at short (if he’s not already traded by then) and pinning their hopes on Chris Rusin and Chad Bettis, not to mention Eddie Butler. As former Rockies director of Major League operations famously suggested once, they’ve got to trust the organization.

Because of the trade, Tulowitzki said he’s lost trust in people at the top in baseball. Maybe now he can finally fully identify with the fans he called his own for 9.5 years in Denver and both sides can move on.