Why Colorado went deep with Tulo

Updated: December 1, 2010, 10:08 AM ET
By Buster Olney

The conversation that Troy Tulowitzki had with Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd, in the GM's office in the first days of October, was about baseball, but it really wasn't.

It was about Tulowitzki's ambition. It was about what Tulowitzki wanted to do with his life, how he wanted to raise children, where he wanted to live, what he wanted to accomplish.

O'Dowd walked away from those conversations thinking that Rockies owner Charlie Monfort needed to hear what Tulowitzki felt and what he was thinking. And so he asked Tulowitzki to come back to his office to meet with Monfort, with whom the shortstop has a good relationship.

No money was discussed. No contract was discussed. This was about Tulowitzki's ambitions. He spoke about how he wanted what Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken had been able to do -- play careers that could be measured in decades for one team in one city. He wanted what Derek Jeter -- Tulowitzki's inspiration for wearing No. 2 -- appears to have. "He cited those guys and said, 'This is what I want my career to represent,'" recalled O'Dowd.

Monfort and O'Dowd came out of that meeting believing they wanted to invest in Tulowitzki and his dream. "I saw a maturity in him that I've been noticing the last couple of years," O'Dowd said over the phone Tuesday evening.

Tulowitzki's status as the best shortstop in the big leagues is the major reason the Rockies have committed $157.75 million over the next 10 years to him. O'Dowd knows that there will be industry criticism of Colorado's decision to do this now, but he and Monfort are convinced that everything is right about this deal -- the player, the timing, the motives on both sides. "When you do things for the right reasons," said O'Dowd, "it usually works out OK."