Remember in mid-February of last year when it was revealed that Troy Tulowitzki was dealing with bone spurs in his heel but it was only a minor issue? Then it was said he might be ready for Opening Day? Then it became possible he’d be back by the end of April? Then it got pushed back again to the All-Star break? Then there was an update about him being able to put weight on his feel only when using that anti-gravity machine? Man, what a time.
Well, here we are in early December and we’re talking about what role Tulo is going to have on the 2019 Blue Jays. According to Ross Atkins, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a major one.
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) December 5, 2018
Given Atkins’ comments, it’s hard to figure where Tulo will fit in 2019. Remember, Tulo said back in August that he would pack his bags and go home if he couldn’t be the team’s shortstop. That’s his goal and how he envisions himself on the team. It was always said given his size that Tulo would eventually have to move off short, but he’s a proud guy and his plan for his career was to be one of the best shortstops of all-time.
I just said I’m a shortstop. If someone’s better than me, I’ll pack my bags and go home,” Tulowitzki said. “I do think I bring a lot more than what you see out there too and that’s part of baseball, there’s stuff behind the scenes that go on, there’s things I try to help teammates with.”
Atkins went on to say that if the season began today, Lourdes Gurriel would be the team’s shortstop. I can’t imagine much will change between now and the beginning of the season. *knocks on wood because please fuck we don’t need an injury to a key large Adult Son*
So we have Gurriel starting at short, Brandon Drury starting at third until Vlad can be called up, Devon Travis probably getting the first chance to start at second, and, if he’s healthy — and that’s still a big if! — Tulo as the backup infielder?
Tulo is set to be paid $20 million for 2019 and $14 million for 2020 and then he has a team option for 2021 with a small $4 million buyout. It’s virtually impossible to imagine him being the everyday shortstop at this point, not only because of his major health issues, but also because the team has young players like Gurriel and Bo Bichette they’d obviously rather give reps to at short given the current stage of the organization.
Will we see Tulo stick to his guns and actually pack it up and go home if he isn’t the team’s shortstop come 2019? Because, at this point, it seems like he’s the only one who believes he can handle the gig.
Man, I’d love for nothing more than for Tulo to be healthy and to be able to kill it at short. Not just for the sake of the team, but for the sake of him, too. I mean, it’s hard to feel too bad for a guy raking in more cash than any of us could ever dream about, but still, it’s gotta be sad to have your career evaporate due to all these random injuries. Tulo was once on a collision course with the Hall of Fame, though it might be hard to remember now.