We’re well into the offseason, and the Yankees have made great progress on their starting rotation. There is still plenty of work to be done, however, especially around the infield. Didi Gregorius will miss the first few months of the season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, and Miguel Andujar is a defensive liability at third base. Not to mention the fact that the first base job will apparently be decided during a spring training competition between Luke Voit and Greg Bird. At the very least, it appears that the Yankees will need to bring in outside help while Gregorius heals. Should the Bombers take a flyer on Troy Tulowitzki?
If you somehow missed last week’s news, the Blue Jays released Tulowitzki with $38 million (including a team option in 2021) left on his contract. That means any team who signs him will only have to pay him the league minimum of $600,000 in 2019. Assuming that he ever makes it on the field, that would be an incredible bargain.
No, the 34-year-old isn’t the player that he used to be. He has suffered just about every injury known to man during his time in the majors, from broken ribs to a cracked shoulder blade. More recently, Tulo missed the entire 2018 season after having bone spurs removed from both feet. That’s after his 2017 campaign was cut in half due to an ankle injury. The last time he suited up for Toronto, he hit just .249/.300/.378 through 66 games. It was by far the worst season of his career.
It remains to be seen if Tulowitzki has anything left in the tank. He is, however, reportedly “healthy, working out and looking forward to playing next season.” That information should be taken with a grain of salt, along with the news that Jacoby Ellsbury will be healthy when spring training rolls around.
If he’s truly healthy, this is such a low-risk, potentially high-reward move that there’s no reason why the Yankees shouldn’t kick the tires. Obviously, this shouldn’t stop them from pursuing Manny Machado. Tulo also shouldn’t be their number one backup plan when it comes to replacing Gregorius. It would be foolish to count on him until he proves he can play.
Why not bring him to spring training and see if he has anything left? The last time that he was healthy and stayed on the field for most of the season (2016), he was worth 3.0 fWAR and hit 24 home runs. If it works out, great. If he looks completely cooked, then release him and eat the contract. Some team is going to take a gamble on him, and it might as well be the Yankees.