The Yankees kicked off 2019 by acquiring a former All-Star to serve as their fill-in shortstop. Late on New Year’s Day word got out that the club agreed to terms with Troy Tulowitzki, who had been released by the Blue Jays a few weeks earlier. The deal was made official on January 4th, and Brian Cashman named him the starting shortstop on the 5th. The whole thing came together pretty quickly.
Earlier today, Tulowitzki addressed members of the New York media for the first time since inking his contract. He discussed his role, his health, and even the rumors about Manny Machado. These are some of the highlights.
On why he signed with the Yankees
Tulowitzki noted that he had a number of suitors in free agency, but he chose the Yankees because he prioritized joining a championship-caliber team, per Laura Albanese. He also explained that remaining at shortstop played a key role in his decision.
Tulowitzki said being a SS and playing for a contender were biggest thoughts while picking team #Yankees— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) January 7, 2019
Of course, no interview about Tulowitzki and the Yankees would be complete without a Derek Jeter reference. The 34-year-old lauded Jeter’s “presence” and explained why he grew up a fan.
On Didi Gregorius’ return
Coley Harvey reported that Tulowitzki wants to see Gregorius return healthy. He recognizes what the shortstop means for the team. He declined, however, to speculate what it would mean for himself. “We’ll deal with it then,” he said, “there’s no sense in talking about it now.”
It’s obvious that Tulowitzki is just a stopgap. When Gregorius comes back, Tulowitzki will have to ride the bench. Maybe that happens even sooner. It would be odd for a player to say that, though.
On his own health
The good news here, according to Albanese, is that Tulowitzki is healthy and doesn’t feel pain following his surgery. He expressed the need to take it somewhat conservatively in spring training, but he’s ready to put in the work. “I do need to catch up as far as reps and see pitching and being out there on the field,” he said.
On the Machado rumors
Naturally Tulowitzki was asked about the stream of Machado rumors. He said it would be ‘awesome’ if the top free agent landed in the Bronx.
Tulowitzki said he's aware the Yankees have expressed interest in Machado. He said he signed with the Yankees to play with the best players. If Machado ends up being one of those players, Tulo said that would be "awesome."— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) January 7, 2019
“[I] signed up with the Yankees because I wanted to be with the best players,” Tulowitzki said. He has that luxury right now, but it would be even better with a certain free agent infielder.