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Yankees sign Troy Tulowitzki, designate A.J. Cole for assignment

The Yankees have their stopgap shortstop

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Update 1/4/19: It’s official — Troy Tulowitzki is a Yankee. The team announced the signing earlier this afternoon. As a corresponding move, the club designated A.J. Cole for assignment.

1/1/19: This is not the Yankees shortstop announcement that we’ve all been waiting for, but the Bombers have reportedly agreed to a deal with Troy Tulowitzki, pending a physical. The good news is that the Toronto Blue Jays are on the hook for the $20 million left on his contract, and the Yankees will only have to pay him league minimum.

Tulowitzki, 34, hasn’t played in a major league game since July 28th, 2017. He made 260 plate appearances that year, hitting .249/.300/.378 with seven home runs. A long list of injuries, including bone spurs and ankle issues, have kept him off the field of late. He was last an above-average (and barely that) hitter in 2016, when he managed a 104 wRC+.

Best known for his time with the Rockies, Tulowitzki combined high-level defense with elite hitting. His 170 wRC+ campaign in 2014 stands out as a top season for a shortstop at the plate. He was a fearsome batter before injuries struck.

In July 2015, Tulowitzki was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in a blockbuster deal. He had an okay run with the Jays, hitting .250/.313/.414 with 36 home runs in 987 plate appearances. The team somewhat shockingly released the shortstop in December, leaving him free to sign with any team.

At the very least, it doesn’t hurt to have Tulo show up to spring training and see if he has anything left in the tank. If he doesn’t, the Yankees can release him. If he somehow can be a productive short-term replacement for Didi Gregorius, this deal is a total steal. According to Jeff Passan, it was just too good of a deal to pass up, and it doesn’t mean they’re out on Machado. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.