So here’s how it ends. It doesn’t feel like very long ago that Ken Rosenthal dropped “BREAKING: Tulo traded to #” 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…
Tulo’s agent, Paul Cohen: “I’ve known Mark Shapiro for decades. He is one of the most decent, forthright, honest people I know. If they are really going to go with young guys next year, it’s best to give Troy the opportunity now to seek out the best situation…” 1/2
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2018
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.