In a surprise move, the Toronto Blue Jays have released Troy Tulowitzki and are on the hook for $38 million over his next two seasons. He is now a free agent and may sign with any team of his choosing. The San Diego Padres are in need of veterans and a shortstop. This seems like a perfect marriage.
At one time, Troy Tulowitzki was the cream of the shortstop crop in all of baseball.
The five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award-winning infielder was a stud for the Colorado Rockies, where he recorded a .885 OPS in 10 years with the team. In July of 2015, he was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays, but Tulo never regained the form he had in the National League.
After three seasons and a disappointing .727 OPS, the Blue Jays decided to let him go.
The astro turf in Toronto didn’t do any favors for Tulowitzki as he continually struggled with leg injuries throughout his time with the Blue Jays. His power numbers went down after leaving the high altitude of Colorado, but the troubling thing about Tulo was his exit velocities also went down after a move to the AL. The Padres hope that is just a product of not having his legs underneath him.
At 34 years of age, he is no longer considered a player of youth. He has lost a step and his range is questionable at shortstop, but the Padres still should explore the idea of bringing the veteran in for a look. At this point, it would only cost the Padres the league minimum as the Blue Jays are paying the rest.
It is being reported that Tulo has been working out at Long Beach State and is in the best shape he has been in for a long time. The Jays release of him signifies that the team in Toronto is transitioning, and they wasted no time in changing gears. Tulowitzki did not play in 2018 at all after suffering bone spurs in his heels. Getting away from that horrid turf might do wonders for the right-handed hitter.
It remains to be seen if he can still handle shortstop, but the Padres are also in search of a third baseman for 2019. There is no doubt that the strong-armed Tulo has the ability to play the hot corner if needed. Tulo’s agents are saying he would like to return to California. They mentioned the Bay Area as a possibility for the infielder, who is a California native. San Diego, and playing for a young up-and-coming team, could be attractive to the former first-round pick.
A.J. Preller and his staff need to get busy on Tulowitzki as he shouldn’t be available for long. With the ability he has when healthy and the league minimum owed for the next two seasons, he is a potential bargain for any major league team willing to take a gamble that he rebounds in 2019. A healthy Tulowitzki should be a 3-5 WAR player, something the Padres have not had from an offensive player for a long time. And yes, two years is a long time! Bring Tulo back to the NL West. What do the Padres have to lose?