The Rockies and Blue Jays struck a blockbuster trade on July 28th, 2015. In today’s video, MLBTR’s Jeff Todd looks back at how the Troy Tulowitzki deal worked out for both sides.
Veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has announced his retirement after 13 Major League seasons. His full statement, as per a Yankees media release:
“I wanted to take this opportunity to announce my retirement as a Major League Baseball player.
For as long as I can remember, my dream was to compete at the highest level as a Major League Baseball Player … to wear a big league uniform and play hard for my teammates and the fans. I will forever be grateful for every day that I’ve had to live out my dream. It has been an absolute honor.
I will always look back with tremendous gratitude for having the privilege of playing as long as I did. There is no way to truly express my gratitude to the fans of Colorado, Toronto and New York. They always made my family and I feel so welcome.
I want to thank the Yankees organization and Brian Cashman for giving me the opportunity to wear the Yankees uniform and live out another childhood dream. I wish that my health had allowed for a different ending to that chapter.
To the coaches, training staff and baseball executives who helped me in my career … I am incredibly grateful to all of you. To my teammates throughout the years, thank you for grinding with me. I truly value all the relationships that were built through this game.
None of this would have been possible without the love and support of my family and friends. To my wife, my son and my parents … you helped make my dreams come true. To my agent Paul Cohen and TWC Sports Management … thank you for taking care of everything. You all allowed me to play the game I love without distractions.
While this chapter is now over, I look forward to continuing my involvement in the game that I love … instructing and helping young players to achieve their goals and dreams.
I’m saying goodbye to Major League Baseball, but I will never say goodbye 2 the game I love. Thanks again 2 all of you!“
Tulowitzki’s final season consisted of only five games, as he was sidelined by a calf strain early in his tenure with the Yankees. It seems like his latest injury might have well been the last straw after a long series of ailments that have limited Tulowitzki for more or less his entire career, but particularly over the last few years. Tulowitzki missed all of 2018 after undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs from his heels, and after the Blue Jays released him in Spring Training, he caught on with the Yankees on a minor league deal in the hopes of following in the footsteps of his childhood hero Derek Jeter as New York’s shortstop.
One can’t discuss Tulowitzki’s career without mentioning his injury history, as he played more than 130 games just three times over his 13 seasons. It’s quite possible that a healthy Tulowitzki could have potentially garnered himself some consideration as a Hall-of-Famer. On the other hand, a more optimistic view is that given all of his health issues, the fact that Tulowitzki was still able to perform as well as he did is extraordinary.
Selected by the Rockies seventh overall in the 2005 draft, Tulowitzki will long be remembered for his glory days in Colorado. “Tulo” racked up five All-Star appearances, two Silver Slugger Awards, two Gold Gloves and a pair of fifth-place NL MVP finishes over his 10 seasons and 1048 games in Rockies purple. He was also a second-place finisher in NL Rookie Of The Year voting in 2007, as Tulowitzki’s emergence was a major factor in the vaunted “Rocktober” team that virtually ran the table down the stretch and through the postseason en route to a surprise NL pennant and the only World Series appearance in Colorado’s franchise history.
After signing a pair of long-term contract extensions with the Rockies, Tulowitzki seemed like a Rox lifer before a blockbuster trade deadline deal that sent him to the Blue Jays in July 2015. Though Tulowitzki was openly surprised and even dismayed to be leaving his longtime team, Tulowitzki nevertheless helped stabilize Toronto’s shortstop situation as the Jays reached the ALCS in both 2015 and 2016.
Over his entire career, Tulowitzki will finish with a .290/.361/.495 slash line and 225 career home runs. Like most hitters, Tulowitzki enjoyed a boost from playing the bulk of his home games at Coors Field, though his career 118 OPS+ and 119 wRC+ indicate that he was certainly an above-average offensive player full stop.
Tulowitzki earned slightly less than $164MM over the course of his career, as per Baseball Reference. This includes the remainder of his current contract, which runs through the end of the 2020 season and the bulk of which is being covered by the Blue Jays after their release of the shortstop.
We at MLB Trade Rumors wish Tulowitzki our congratulations on an outstanding playing career, and we wish him the best in his future role teaching the next generations of players.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
The Yankees announced that veteran infielder Troy Tulowitzki has left the team’s spring facility, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports (Twitter link). He’ll take some time at home to “get over that (injury) hump and kind of push through the finish line of getting exactly right,” manager Aaron Boone explains.
It’s frankly hard to interpret this development. Boone had declared just days ago that Tulowitzki was “pretty much over” the lingering calf injury that originally sent him to the injured list. (Also via Hoch, on Twitter.) It’s unclear when the 34-year-old will be deemed ready for a rehab assignment.
Slated to fill in for a rehabbing Didi Gregorius, Tulowitzki made it through only five games to open the season before his latest health issue arose. He missed all of 2018 after heel surgery and only made it into 66 contests in the prior campaign.
What is clear is that Tulo will not make it back to the MLB roster before Gregorius, whose return to action appears to be imminent. Barring any intervening developments on the injury front, the return of Gregorius will put the shortstop position off limits except for fill-in opportunities.
Tulowitzki has been seeing time at third base in anticipation of just that scenario. There could still be a fit there, but there still isn’t much of an opening even in the absence of Miguel Andujar. The surprising Gio Urshela continues to turn in impressive results at the hot corner and the club will want to keep finding regular action for Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu. Even rookie fill-in Thairo Estrada has hit like a mid-prime Tulo to this point.
Under the circumstances, there’s no real rush from the Yankees’ perspective. It’s not clear at all that the organization has a use for Tulowitzki in the majors. But the Yanks certainly appreciate the value of depth, having both compiled and deployed it quite often this season. Tulowitzki is presently occupying a 40-man spot. While he could be shifted onto the 60-day IL, roster pressures will ultimately force a final determination on his status once he is back to health.
Yankees veteran Troy Tulowitzki has begun taking grounders at third base as well as his accustomed shortstop position, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports on Twitter. Tulowitzki is said to have approached the club to express a willingness to move around the infield.
The 34-year-old Tulowitzki has never appeared at a position other than shortstop in his 13 seasons at the MLB level. (That’s also true of his 1200+ frames in the minors.) That’s a reflection of his well-deserved reputation for quality glovework at the game’s most challenging defensive position as well as his former excellence as as hitter. Teams have simply never had cause to utilize Tulowitzki elsewhere on the diamond, though there’s little reason to think he wouldn’t thrive in other positions.
Unfortunately, Tulo made it through only thirty innings of action this year before he was once again sidelined with a lower-body injury (this time, his calf). Even as he continues to work back to full strength, the man he was brought in to cover for — the younger Didi Gregorius — has made his own steady progress. Gregorius’s star rose steadily in New York before Tommy John surgery last October. Despite a rehab timeline that stretched into the middle of the 2019 campaign, the Yanks staked $12.4MM in arbitration salary on him.
So long as Gregorius makes it back as hoped — he’s still due to return at some point in June — there isn’t much of a path to playing time at short for Tulowitzki. Indeed, it’s not clear there’ll be a roster spot at all, even with third baseman Miguel Andujar sidelined for the duration of the season.
Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu are clearly at the top of the depth chart. Somehow, most of the Yanks’ fill-in infielders have produced at strong levels. Gio Urshela has been particularly impressive, turning in a robust .346/.400/.490 output in 115 plate appearances. And Thairo Estrada has posted a .303/.324/.545 slash through his first 35 turns at the MLB dish.
Injuries or setbacks could always intervene, as this team well knows, but there could be some tough choices when Tulowitzki and Gregorius are both healthy. It’s hard to fathom the Yankees bumping the out-of-options Urshela from the roster — barring a sudden collapse, at least. Estrada can be optioned, though that would only account for one roster spot. Switch-hitting slugger Kendrys Morales is the most vulnerable member of the roster, but he’s off to a hot start in the Bronx and offers a much-needed lefty bat.
Padres rookie righty Chris Paddack has been brilliant across his first six starts and 33 innings in the majors. But Paddack’s already just 57 frames away from the career-high 90 he totaled in the minors last season in his return from 2017 Tommy John surgery. Considering Paddack’s long-term importance to the organization, San Diego has plans to limit his workload, per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. Indeed, agent Scott Boras told Jon Morosi of MLB.com that the Padres will “manage” his 23-year-old client’s innings. However, Cassavell notes that doesn’t mean the Padres will shut down Paddack – something the Nationals did with Boras client Stephen Strasburg amid a pennant race in his younger days. “It’s mapped out,” manager Andy Green said of the Padres’ plans for Paddack, though he added that “it’s mapped out with the intention for adjustments, as well. So to sit here and walk through exactly what we think is going to happen would be foolish.” Meanwhile, Paddack indicated he’s on board with the Padres’ approach and revealed he’s aiming for a 130- to 150-inning season.
More from around the game…
- Athletics closer Blake Treinen is dealing with right elbow discomfort that he believes is tendinitis, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Treinen’s unlikely to pitch Sunday as a result, per Slusser, who writes that “he’ll get checked out” on Monday. Treinen hasn’t toed the rubber since April 28, when he took a loss in Toronto after the Blue Jays lit him up for four earned runs on five hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. The 30-year-old’s 2019 ERA skyrocketed from 0.68 to 3.00 during that uncharacteristically disastrous performance. Treinen told Slusser he’s simply fighting “fluke soreness,” but if the issue forces him to the injured list, Slusser points out it would be his first IL stint in the majors.
- Pirates righty Chris Archer is eligible to come off the IL on Monday, but that won’t happen, according to Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic. Archer – out since April 27 with right thumb inflammation – is in line for a bullpen session Tuesday, and he’ll need to throw at least one sim game before the Pirates decide whether he’s ready to return. Archer’s absence is all the more troublesome for Pittsburgh now that fellow righty Jameson Taillon could miss upward of a month with a flexor strain in his elbow.
- Already out since April 3 because of a left calf strain, Yankees shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has suffered a setback and will be shut down for another week, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com tweets. It’s the latest bad break for the once-great Tulowitzki, whom injuries have haunted throughout his career. The 34-year-old wasn’t healthy enough to participate in either of the previous two seasons, which led the Blue Jays to cut him over the winter and eat the remaining $38MM on his contract. Tulowitzki then found a taker in the Yankees on a league-minimum deal, with both parties hoping he’d stay healthy and adeptly fill in for the injured Didi Gregorius. The dice roll hasn’t paid off for the Yankees, who have received a meager 13 plate appearances from Tulowitzki and appear unlikely to get him back anytime soon.
- Although Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has exclusively been an infielder since debuting with the Blue Jays last year, that’s about to change. Speaking with Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com and other reporters Saturday, general manager Ross Atkins said the Jays plan to turn Gurriel into at least a part-time outfielder. The 25-year-old, whom Toronto demoted to Triple-A Buffalo three weeks ago, has been racking up corner outfield reps in the minors. As Chisholm writes, the outfield isn’t totally new for Gurriel, who played left in his native Cuba for 40 games back in 2015-16. The change figures to open up major league playing time for Gurriel upon his return, given that Randal Grichuk’s the sole Toronto outfielder who has been remotely productive this season. The group entered Saturday as the American League’s least valuable outfield.
The Tigers are holding their breath after seeing starter Jordan Zimmermann depart with discomfort in his right elbow, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press was among those to report on Twitter. More on his outlook will be known after he’s evaluated tomorrow, but it seems there’s a bit of worry from within the organization. Zimmermann’s tenure in Detroit has been nothing short of disastrous; he entered the season with a cumulative 5.24 ERA and is sitting on a 5.93 mark through six starts this year. The club owes him $25MM this year and the same for 2020.
More on the health front:
- Rangers lefty Drew Smyly says he thinks he’ll be capable of returning after skipping only a starter or two, as MLB.com’s TR Sullivan tweets. He explains that he is just dealing with arm fatigue in his first full season back following Tommy John surgery. That’s reasonably promising news, standing alone. Trouble is, the Texas organization really needs innings right away. Prospect Taylor Hearn was bombed tonight, leaving the bullpen to pick up the pieces. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News notes on Twitter, veteran righty Jeanmar Gomez took the brunt of the damage and may now be at risk of losing his spot on the roster as the club scrambles to cover innings in the coming days.
- With loads of significant players on the injured list, there are always quite a few Yankees updates of note. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch rounds up the latest in one concise tweet. Aaron Hicks and Troy Tulowitzki both appear close to full (minor-league) game action, which suggests both may not be far off from a return to the MLB roster. Miguel Andujar is slated to appear at third base in extended spring action tomorrow. That represents the latest promising sign as he attempts to stave off surgery to address a shoulder injury that isn’t preventing him from hitting but has hampered his throwing. Just how that’ll all turn out remains to be seen, but it appears there is enough promise that he’s going to try to ramp back up at the hot corner.
- As for star Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, the biceps issue that drove him to the injured list appears to be sorted. But he’s now dealing with a new shoulder malady. Per Andy Martino of SNY.tv, the hope is that this new problem will only extend his absence by a week or so. It’s all a bit foggy but seems less than concerning on the whole, at least in comparison to the club’s overall injury malaise. Having treaded water admirably thus far, the Yanks can go another week without Stanton. They are still in good position in the AL East — so long as their health fortunes finally turn, at least.
Injuries are the story thus far for the Yankees, whose sluggish start is explained in no small part by a dizzying barrage of maladies. One of those has proven particularly confounding, as young starter Luis Severino came down with a lat strain while rehabbing a shoulder injury. As James Wagner of the New York Times reports, the investigation into the origins of Severino’s health problems has become a tale of its own. At this point, the team isn’t sure how that problem popped up; GM Brian Cashman says it wasn’t detected in the imaging that identified the initial shoulder problem.
In any event, there’s still five weeks to go until Severino can potentially start to throw once again. While he and the team wait for that important development, they’ll hope to welcome back a few other players. The latest …
- The Yanks are at least open to considering utilizing Miguel Andujar as something other than a third baseman, manager Aaron Boone indicated to reporters including Wagner (Twitter link). Andujar’s shoulder injury hasn’t limited him much with the bat, but has made throwing difficult. Even if he’s able to avoid a surgical procedure, then, a return to the hot corner may be difficult. In that event, it’s possible he’d be utilized in the DH slot or perhaps even at first. Those possibilities aren’t yet being discussed in earnest, with Boone saying the club will wait to see how Andujar’s throwing progresses, but it now seems there are some new approaches on the table.
- Backstop Gary Sanchez is still on track for a quick return to the active roster, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch writes. In fact, with his calf injury evidently progressing well, he may be back when first eligible on Sunday. That’d be a nice boost for the lineup; the 26-year-old catcher had been back to his slugging ways before incurring the injury.
- Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton also seems to be showing signs of nearing a return from his biceps injury, though he’s certainly still further off. Stanton has taken cuts off a pitching machine, as Hoch tweeted yesterday, though it’s still a bit uncertain when he’ll be fully ready for activation. It seems possible, but not certain, that Stanton could return before the club wraps up a lengthy West Coast road trip on May 9th.
- Several other players are also progressing, but on less-certain timelines. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is also working back from a calf strain that is a bit more significant than Sanchez’s. (Via Hoch; Twitter link.) He’s participating in baseball activities and says he’s feeling good, but there’s still no indication when he’ll be ready. Outfielder Aaron Hicks is also engaged in a variety of baseball functions but hasn’t yet taken batting practice to test out his ailing back. He’s hoping to do so this week, Wagner tweets, which would perhaps clear the way for a rehab assignment.
The Yankees announced Thursday that they’ve officially placed shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on the 10-day injured list. Infield prospect Thairo Estrada was recalled to take his place on the 25-man roster (as MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported would be the case).
Tulowitzki, 34, is the 11th player the Yankees have placed on the injured list already in 2019. The former All-Star and MVP candidate has been plagued by injuries to his lower half in recent years and missed all of the 2018 season recovering from surgery to remove bone spurs in both of his heels. He’s belted a home run and a double thus far in his 13 plate appearances with the Yankees but didn’t manage to stave off the injury bug for long. The team has yet to comment on how long he’ll be sidelined, though manager Aaron Boone was quick to suggest after yesterday’s game that an IL trip was quite likely.
The injury to Tulo opens the door for Estrada to make his big league debut. Ranked 19th among Yankees farmhands by MLB.com and 26th by Fangraphs, the 23-year-old Estrada has faced a more uphill battle in reaching the bigs than most players. He looked to be progressing toward a potential promotion heading into the 2018 season but was shot in the hip during a robbery attempt in his native Venezuela last offseason, which ultimately required a pair of surgeries. Both MLB.com and Fangraphs peg him as a potential utility infielder. His last full, healthy season in 2017 resulted in a solid .301/.353/.392 slash through 122 games in Double-A ball.
Estrada’s promotion to the Majors doesn’t necessarily lock him into regular at-bats while Tulowitzki is on the shelf. The Yankees have DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres both healthy, and that pairing will surely receive everyday at-bats at present. But with Miguel Andujar also on the injured list, Estrada and Tyler Wade should have ample opportunity for playing time — perhaps in a platoon setting, as Estrada’s right-handed bat complements the left-handed-hitting Wade.
Yankees shortstop Troy Tulowitzki exited Tuesday’s game with a left calf strain and will “almost certainly” head to the injured list, manager Aaron Boone tells reporters (Twitter link via the YES Network’s Jack Curry). If and when Tulo does hit the IL, he’ll bring the Yankees’ total to a staggering 11 players on the shelf, including two left-side infielders in as many days. Third baseman Miguel Andujar went on the injured list due to a labrum tear yesterday, and with both him and Tulowitzki out of the picture, the Yankees will be relying on a mix of Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu and Tyler Wade around the infield. Young Thairo Estrada is already on the 40-man roster and could get a call to help provide some depth while Tulowitzki is out. There’s no firm timetable for Tulo just yet.
Some more notable health updates from around baseball…
- Diamondbacks infielder Jake Lamb pulled up lame while legging out a double in this afternoon’s game, and the early diagnosis is a strained left quadriceps, per The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan (Twitter link). Lamb will undergo an MRI tomorrow to further evaluate the severity of the injury. If Lamb is to miss time with the injury, the D-backs can increase Christian Walker’s role at first base and perhaps mix in Alex Avila a bit as well. The 28-year-old Lamb has gotten off to a slow start in 2019 as he looks to rebound from a 2018 campaign that was ruined by shoulder troubles.
- Brewers righty Jeremy Jeffress is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A San Antonio tomorrow, tweets MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. He’s been sidelined with some weakness in his shoulder but hasn’t been diagnosed with any structural damage or significant injury. Jeffress has been building strength since being slowed down in mid-March and will test out his shoulder over a series of appearances with San Antonio. President of baseball operations David Stearns recently suggested that mid or late April could be a reasonable return date for Jeffress, whose importance to the team only increased with the revelation that Corey Knebel will miss the entire 2019 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
- The Angels announced yesterday that a CT scan revealed “chronic changes to the elbow” in left-hander Andrew Heaney. Ominous as that sounds, Heaney will be cleared to resume a throwing program within the next week to 10 days. He’s also undergoing a cortisone shot to help combat the discomfort in his elbow. The good news for the Angels is that there seemingly wasn’t any evidence of structural damage regarding Heaney’s ulnar collateral ligament. Heaney has yet to appear in a game this season and was limited to just 1 2/3 innings early in Spring Training, so even once he does resume a throwing program, he’ll still be several weeks from surfacing as an option in the Halos’ rotation.
When the offseason began in late October, the Yankees were a popular pick to become Manny Machado’s next team as he sought a record contract in free agency. As it turns out, though, the Yankees didn’t pursue Machado as aggressively as many expected them to, and he’s now a member of the Padres after signing a 10-year, $300MM guarantee with them this week.
On Friday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman spoke about their decision to back off Machado, claiming the team’s league-minimum signing of oft-injured infielder Troy Tulowitzki in early January played a key part, per John Harper of SNY.tv. Tulowitzki was once an elite player, as Machado currently is, but he’s now a 34-year-old coming off a season lost to heel issues. Nevertheless, the Yankees are “banking on the problem being fixed,” according to Cashman, who signed Tulowitzki after the Blue Jays released him and ate nearly all of the $38MM left on his contract. Tulowitzki was one of several offseason acquisitions for the Yankees, though the big-spending franchise didn’t break the bank on any of its pickups – something it often did under late owner George Steinbrenner, who passed away in 2010.
“Those days are gone,” Cashman said of his former boss’ reign, owing to the “completely different” system the league operates under now compared to then. Cashman, who answers to Steinbrenner’s son Hal these days, contends that “the game now rewards — and reward might not be the right word — but it rewards losing. It drags teams that are struggling back up into the winning environment, and penalizes teams that have been winning by pushing them back.” As Harper points out, Cashman was likely alluding to the luxury tax, revenue sharing and the league’s capped spending on draft picks and international signings as detriments to the Yankees and other clubs of their ilk.
More from New York and a couple other AL cities…
- Luke Voit and Greg Bird are competing to be the Yankees’ Opening Day first baseman, and it appears to be an all-or-nothing battle. It’s doubtful the loser will crack the team’s season-opening roster, George A. King III of the New York Post relays, which seems to rule out a platoon between the righty-hitting Voit and the lefty-swinging Bird. It looks as if free-agent signing DJ LeMahieu, a second baseman by trade, could serve as the team’s backup at first, as manager Aaron Boone said Saturday, “I see [DJ] LeMahieu getting some reps there.’’ Boone also declared that Bird is a superior defender to Voit, Coley Harvey of ESPN reports. Still, given that Voit far outdid Bird at the plate in 2018, it would be surprising if the latter wins back his old job coming out of camp. Both players have minor league options remaining, though, so the Yankees wouldn’t have any difficulty demoting the runner-up to Triple-A.
- The Mariners have promoted Joe Bohringer to assistant general manager, per a team announcement. A special assistant to Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto since 2015, Bohringer will take over for Jeff Kingston, who left the M’s to become the Dodgers’ VP/AGM in December. Bohringer’s duties will include overseeing the Mariners’ analytics departments and acting as the primary liaison between their front office and medical staff, the club announced. Bohringer’s in his second run with Seattle, having previously worked as an area scouting supervisor with the franchise from 2002-06. Along with his Mariners stints, he has served in scouting capacities with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Cubs at the major league level.
- Longtime FanGraphs writer Jeff Sullivan announced Friday that he has taken a job with the Rays. His departure from FanGraphs is a blow to the many who enjoyed reading his excellent pieces, but it should be a boon for Tampa Bay. While it’s unknown which role Sullivan has taken with the Rays, he’s an intriguing addition to a front office that’s known for its use of analytics and willingness to innovate.