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Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Troy Tulowitzki era is over

So here’s how it ends. It doesn’t feel like very long ago that Ken Rosenthal dropped “BREAKING: Tulo traded to #BlueJays” and the internet exploded. But after spending a year-and-a-half on the disabled list and his role on the team moving forward becoming smaller and smaller, the Blue jays decided to cut ties and let him move on.

The Jays have released Troy Tulowitzki, making him a free agent. It’ll be a $38 million sunk cost. He had $38M remaining on his contract ($20 million in 2019, $14 million in 2020, and a $4 million buyout for 2021). The timing may seem a little random, but Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro had the opportunity to meet with Tulo in his home in Vegas during the Winter Meetings. This also frees up another 40-man roster spot prior to the Rule 5 draft.

Tulo’s agent had major praise for Mark Shapiro in the wake of this decision…

There’s no doubt that we never got to see Tulo at his best here. He ended up spending parts of three seasons with the Jays, slashing a .250/.313/.414 line with 36 homers. Again, we never saw those mammoth offensive seasons he had in Colorado, but there’s no doubt that Tulo played a key role in helping the Blue jays return to the playoffs in 2015 and again in 2016.

When the Jays acquired Tulo mid-way through the 2015 season, everything changed. The team went from an enigmatic offensive juggernaut who consistently blew leads and booted the ball over the field to a well-oiled machine that stomped the American League from August onwards. I know we don’t like talking about intangibles here, but there’s no doubt his presence on the team was a game-changer.

Even knowing what I do now, which us that we only got two-and-a-half years of Tulo far from his best, I would still pull the trigger on that trade. I don’t think 2015 happens without him.

Another thing I want to add now that I’ve thought about it… Is it a little odd the Jays are so quick to rid themselves of these veterans as they welcome young players to the club? They seemed desperate to move on from Josh Donaldson, Tulo has been let go, and Russell Martin seems to be next in line. You’d figure the team would want to have veterans like that around, but the front office has pretty much purged all of AA’s veteran acquisitions from the previous era. It’s interesting to speculate about and makes you wonder what kind of culture they’re looking to create with the new group.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      TULO UPDATE!!!

      Ok L’il Ninjas, time for a Tulo Update! Well Ninjas, looks like that little shitshow I put on when I showed up in the middle of my most recent 1 1/2 year DL stint has paid off. With the Blue Jays left holding the Tulo bag (if I count correctly it’s a cool 38 mil, after kicking in 32 mil for my 2017-2018 DL stint) I think we’ve bled these suckers dry. Time now to move on and find someone willing to piss another couple million down the Tulo hole.

      It’s been a great gig with all you Ninjas and I’m sorry I won’t get to arrange pony rides at Winter Fest. But I’m keeping the website open for everybody who wants to get the last of the “AA mini packs”, only $108 for my regular rehab updates, for at least a couple more weeks. And to all those L’il Ninjas who’ve been tweeting the hashtag #ReupTulo I want to thank you for your efforts.

      So one last time Ninjas, let’s put our hands together. Clap-clap Clap-clap-clap TULO!!

  • Rob Hunter

    The idea that “2015 doesn’t happen without him” is crazy and just not factually correct.

    We won the division by 6 games in 2015, and that’s with essentially not even trying to win the last two (Buehrle’s last start, the double header)

    Tulo was worth 1.3 WAR in 2015. Even if WAR is BS and it’s wildly conservative – we still won by 6 games!

    He played like shit in the playoffs that year (619 OPS) to boot. It was not a good trade and 2015 would have happened exactly as it did – maybe even better! – without him.

    • Jroc

      The trade was as much about getting out of the Reyes contract as it was acquiring Tulo. In hindsight they would have been better off releasing Reyes and using the prospects on someone else. Oh well, it was, and always is fun for your team to “go all in”

    • The Humungus

      Just in the innings he played, Tulo was worth 9 runs above average.

      In those same innings, Reyes would have been just a shade under 4 below average.

      So, in the 35 games he played at short, Tulo saved the Jays 13 runs in run prevention that Reyes would not have.

      Also, he out-hit Reyes.

      Don’t come with WAR to a fight about run prevention. But, if you want to, Tulo produces 1.3 WAR with the Jays in twice as many games as Reyes, who produced 0.4. So, by himself, he was about 6 times as good as Reyes, for the same money and a bunch of busted prospects (of whom it looks like Jesus Tinoco might be the best one, now, 3+ years later).

        • Nice Guy Eddie

          They wouldn’t have had to do any of it if Anthopoulos had drafted or signed a middle infielder. Xander Boegarts was signed by the Red Sox when Anthopoulos and his boss Ricciardi were asleep at the switch. Gregorius was aquired by the Yankees in a 2014 trade, when Anthopoulos was trying to get by with his salary dump acquisition Jose Reyes. Both of those two contribute far more value than Anthopoulos got for his salary dump trades and for far less money.

          • The Humungus

            They weren’t asleep at the switch, they were too busy spending $750,000 on Santiago Nessy out of Venezuela to spend $410,000 to sign Boegarts from Aruba in 2009.

            As far as Gregorius goes, he was a glove first shortstop who was supposed to be a stop-gap until they could find a more Yankees suitable shortstop replacement for Yeah Jeets. The Yanks were his third org already and he was coming off a season with a .653 OPS and 6 homers in 80 games, spending half the season in AAA despite playing a full season in the majors the prior year.

            Obviously hindsight is 20/20, but lets not pretend that Didi was a stud prospect, or even viewed as better than Reyes in the industry at the end of the 2014 season.

            And I’m hardly an AA apologist here. Just making sure you recognize context and not just sit there judging bad trades based solely on what happened after them and not the situation at the time, which are two completely different things.

      • Nice Guy Eddie

        Now there’s some clever team building. Don’t draft position players, then trade pitchers for other team’s salary dumps. Pick up useless Johnson, useless Reyes, useless Bonifacio, and mediocre Buehre, and be on the hook for Reyes’ stupid $46 mil for a guy who can’t play shortstop. Then trade the 46 mll for 108 mill of a guy who can’t play at all except for 1 1/2 seasons of mediocrity because you’ve never managed to draft or sign a major league shortstop.

        What could possibly go wrong with that?

    • El Cabeza

      You make very strong statistically backed points Rob Hunter, but INTANGIBLES! (we piss on the term unless it supports are argument, in that case they’re ‘undeniable’)

    • Tomcat34

      I can’t believe how accurate your hindsight is. It’s like you can see the past or something. Normally people who drag that much hindsight out of their ass look like a complete “Tool” but not you. You look special.

    • The Humungus

      Yes, they will.

      Also, this answers the insurance question. If he’s insured, there’s no way they dump the whole $38M on the 2019 payroll rather than just tank the roster spot in a year where they likely won’t win anyway.

      • Nice Guy Eddie

        Humungus is right, it goes on the 2019 payroll. All of it. So that’s $58 million for Tulo and Martin, unless they can get someone to eat a million or so of Martin’s deal (unlikely). As someone else notes, it clears the books for 2020 rather than having another $18 mil wasted on Tulo. Put another way, the Blue Jays are spending $58 mil in 2019 for nothing before they begin putting together a team. I could buy them nothing for a lot less than that.

  • Junkballs

    I remember a buddy of mine texting me wildly when the trade went down, he was positively giddy. It’s too bad we never got to see Tulo at his best.
    The one thing I think gets overlooked in the whole “should they have done it” debate is that Tulo was an overall strategy of going all in for 2015 and 2016, which for my money was worth it cause those rides were hella awesome even if they fell short.
    You may disagree, and that’s totally reasonable. But if you thought going for it for those two years was worthwhile, then you can’t really second guess the Tulo trade. In a way, all those moves at the deadline are kind of baked together. Tulo may have been a little past his best before date but overall it was a pretty tasty casserole.

  • Oz Rob

    This is pure speculation, but Tulo never seemed to be comfortable here despite the 2 playoff runs. I remember his comments after we got knocked out in 2015. I think he was still in shock about being traded.

    Also why is it that you never see these guys thank the team, the fans or say they enjoyed their time here. Did JD say anything along these lines? At least in the case of Tulo the Jays come off as being pretty classy in how they’ve described the release publicly. These are extremely wealthy young men. Is there no sense of gratitude towards us fans who supported them passionately? Once Tulo and JD got injured they just seemed to disappear. Rarely did they make an appearance with the team. It’s like they saw the writing on the wall rebuild wise and just wanted to move on. Such messy endings for both players and the Jays.

  • Mose

    Gonna miss Tulo… he was an absolute stud in COL and unfortunately we only got a glimse of what he was in TO.

    And I like the intentional direction Jays mgmt has displayed in moving forward in a way that benefits the Jays and their rebuilding, and Tulo.

    Godspeed Tu-Lo and good luck with the A’s 🙂

  • somewhereoutthere

    Its really to bad, ya this guys grandkids are set but you know he missed out on some years in his prime to make the HOF and Id bet that matters just as much if not more to Tulo. That trade was and always will be the right thing to do people forget just how bad Reyes was and turns out hes a piece of $hit anyway. I think something thats being overlooked is that this a classy move by the Jays, hear me out, he is likely not going to get a bunch of playing time unless he healthy and absolutely mashing a ball, but doesnt help development for guys like Gurriel. It give Tulo a chance to play somewhere and succeed on a winning team. Yes you lose leadership but thats what Montoya is there for now. I just hope the best for Tulo and I dont think we can be too worried about another lost asset we got lots in the pipeline anyway.