BREAKING: Yankees sign SS Troy Tulowitzki

Late Tuesday evening, Jeff Passan of ESPN broke news that the New York Yankees were in agreement with free-agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The one-year contract, which will pay Tulowitzki the league minimum salary, provides the Yankees with a stopgap option at SS while Didi Gregorius recovers from offseason Tommy John Surgery.  Passan also notes that this deal does not preclude the team from continuing to pursue Manny Machado.
Tulowitzki, who grew up idolizing Derek Jeter, and wore his #2 for his entire career in honor of him, will finally get to fill the shoes of his childhood hero, albeit for a limited amount of time before Gregorius’ return.  

Tulowitzki has not played in a Major League Baseball game since July of 2017, when hamstring and ankle injuries ended his season.  He then missed all of 2018 with bone spurs in his feet that required surgery.

Photo Credit: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press (via AP)

At a recent showcase in California, however, Tulowitzki looked good both at his natural shortstop position as well as at the plate.  11 teams were in attendance, but it was the allure of following in the footsteps of his idol Jeter that drew Tulowitzki to New York.

Tulowitzki was recently cut from the Toronto Blue Jays with 2 years and a guaranteed $38 million still owed to him ($20 million in 2019, $14 million in 2020, $4 million buyout on a $15 million 2021 club option), so the Yankees will be paying him the same amount they would have Ronald Torreyes had he not been DFA’d last month. Tulo, however, offers a far greater ceiling, even at his age of 34 and injury-riddled past.

This is a good get for the Yankees regardless of how the Manny Machado sweepstakes end.  The Yankees get a proven veteran, with five All Star Game appearances to his name, to fill the gap in the infield while Didi is out, but maybe more importantly, they get insurance for their infield depth should Machado land with the Phillies or White Sox.

By no means is this a ground-breaking acquisition, and there is even a good chance Tulowitzki’s body fails him again and the Yankees don’t get much out of him at all, but considering he comes at a league minimum salary and has a strong track record of success, it makes too much sense to not at least roll the dice on him.  Expect Tulowitzki to start at shortstop early in the year, keeping Gleyber Torres at second base for the time being, and then he can play an infield utility roll upon Gregorius’ reinsertion into the every day lineup.

The big question here now becomes: Assuming the Yankees sign Manny Machado, what does this mean for the future of Miguel Andujar?  We’ll break this down in another piece later in the week so be sure to stay tuned.

Article by: Andrew Natalizio


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