Plugging away as shortstop for the Bad News Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki is stuck in the shadow of the Evil Blue Empire, where the Los Angeles Dodgers are trying to bury the competition under a pile of money.

Can a World Series championship be bought for $215 million? The Dodgers are going to try. So I asked Tulo: Does he ever allow himself to be envious of the Dodgers' payroll?

"Yeah. No doubt," Tulowitzki said Tuesday. "You play at the highest level, because you want to play with the best players. So there are times when you look at it and say: 'Man, I wish we were able to spend $200 million.' "

While sitting at his locker in the Rockies' spring training facility, Tulowitzki spoke in a matter of fact tone. No anger. Zero bitterness.

But we all know the deal: From the star shortstop scooping grounders to the Rockpile bum searching his wallet for a $10 bill to buy a beer, everybody knows the score in Colorado.

The sunshine is free at Coors Field.

So what really compels Rockies ownership to invest in a top-quality product?

Here's good news: Colorado might have finally found its staff ace. The bad news: Your Rox did it by signing Jon Garland off the scrap heap for a base salary of $500,000.

Garland? No offense, but can the Rockies find a starting pitcher without jumping in the way-back time machine for a trip to the flea market?

Garland is not Jamie Moyer. Thank goodness. In fact, I had the pleasure of being there in person when Garland was aces in a World Series ... in 2005.

Tulowitzki insists he has no regrets for volunteering to be the face of the Rockies, who lost 98 games in 2012.

"I can only speak for myself," Tulowitzki said. "I could have not signed a deal with the Rockies and tested the free agent market. But I chose to stay in Colorado, because I believed you can win like this, without spending the most money, by building a close team. You could go out and get the best players on the market. I don't think winning like that would be as satisfying."