Is Troy Tulowitzki the answer to the Yankees’ infield void?
It’s no secret the Yankees happen to be targeting a middle infielder this offseason. Following a visit to Yankee Stadium earlier this week, Manny Machado is the number one priority in the Bronx as it stands. There is, however, another intriguing option on the market who shares the position with one Johnny Hustle himself: Troy Tulowitzki.
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I know what you’re thinking. Yes, it’s not 2010 anymore, but this is about as low-risk, high-reward as a free agent signing can get. Tulowitzki, a 5-time All-Star, was released by the Blue Jays earlier this month. Toronto remains on the hook for the guaranteed two years and $38 million left on his deal, meaning he can be had for just league-minimum salary.
Conceivably, he could slot comfortably into the hole created by Didi Gregorius’ injury, and he has also voiced his willingness to move around the infield, which could be key for the Yankees as the season progresses, with the only other middle infielders on the 40-man roster being Gleyber Torres – who might be asked to move back to shortstop – Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada, Hanser Alberto and Tim Locastro.
Surely those factors make Tulo an attractive option, right? Not exactly. One of the league’s premier shortstops for the better part of the last decade, Tulowitzki seems to be a shell of his former self. His injury history reads like a novel: while he has never been a durable player, even in his prime, he has not played over 140 games since the 2011 season; over 150 since 2009. Ankle issues caused him to miss over half of the 2017 season, and bone spurs which required surgery eliminated his 2018 entirely. For a player entering his age-34 season, that is certainly not ideal.
It’s not all negative, however. Just two years ago, he demonstrated he can still be a quality producer on both sides of the ball at the major league level. He smacked 24 home runs and drove in 79 to go along with 10 DRS, all of which good for 3.4 WAR. Yahoo’s Tim Brown noted the shortstop looked “light on his feet” at his recent showcase, which the Yankees happened to be present for, before insinuating his injury struggles are finally behind him and he once again resembles the prolific Tulo of old. Of course, his veteran leadership would also be welcomed in a clubhouse full of young and blossoming stars such as Torres and Miguel Andujar.
While Machado is obviously at the top of the list, if he isn’t lured away by either of the Yankees competitors in Free Agency, the investment in a player like Tulowitzki, one that comes with a nearly $300 million difference, becomes one well worth it. If Tulo can return to even close to the form that garnered him two top-five MVP finishes, Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers apiece, this could be the steal of the offseason. With that, Brian Cashman certainly has something to consider in the former Rockies and Blue Jays star.
Article by Christian DeMoroFollow @ChristianDeMoro Follow @BronxBomberBall