On Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays shockingly released former superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki with two years and $30+ million remaining on his contract. He’s now a free agent. Should the Milwaukee Brewers pursue him?
It’s been quite the fall from grace for Troy Tulowitzki. A superstar in his days with Colorado, he’s dealt with several injuries over the past few years, and his star has dimmed. He’s only played in 66 games since 2017.
Tulowitzki missed all of 2018 with bone spurs in both of his heels. He hasn’t played a full season, appearing in 150 games or more, since 2009.
Nevertheless, the potential is there for Tulowitzki. He’s always been able to hit. Over his career, even through the injury plagued seasons, Tulo owns a .290/.361/.495 slash line with a .856 OPS.
In Toronto, his bat has suffered, hitting to a .250/.313/.414 slash line in his two and a half seasons on the field. Some may point to leaving hitter-friendly Coors Field as another reason in his offensive decline since joining Toronto. But even those lower numbers in Toronto were better than any production the Milwaukee Brewers put up last year in the middle infield.
Despite his drop in offensive numbers, Tulo has always been a great defender, with 102 DRS over his career.
Where Would Tulowitzki Fit In Milwaukee?
Tulowitzki has been a shortstop for his entire career. The Milwaukee Brewers already have a defensive wizard at shortstop in Orlando Arcia. Arcia’s offensive numbers took a step back in 2018, but the Brewers still believe in him as the future.
Bringing in Tulo to play shortstop would be detrimental to the development and growth of Arcia, which doesn’t seem like something the Brewers would be keen on doing.
However, Tulo did say he is willing to change positions.
Troy Tulowitzki’s agent, Paul Cohen, tells me Tulowitzki would love to play in the Bay Area, is willing to change positions and would like to play for a winning team. Could be a real possibility for A’s at 2B at a mere $600,000.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 11, 2018
Tulowitzki will play for the league minimum salary next year, after being released. So the Brewers and every other team won’t have to worry about getting into a bidding war over money to bring in the injury-prone shortstop.
According to Slusser’s report, Tulo is willing to change positions, and second base would be a natural place to move him. He also would like to play for a winning team. The Brewers check both of those boxes. The only box they don’t check is being in his hometown, as he’s from the Bay Area and would enjoy going back home.
Also, the Brewers are an attractive destination for free agents, and Tulowitzki could see the situation in Milwaukee as a favorable one for him.
#Brewers GM David Stearns said his team has grown to the point where agents have told him their FA players have directed them to reach out to the team: “It means that the culture we’ve created and Craig and his staff have instilled in our clubhouse is a positive one.”
— Tom (@Haudricourt) December 12, 2018
Since money won’t be an issue with Tulo, it’ll be about the fit with the team and the culture that will help his decision. It’s clear that the culture will be a bonus for Milwaukee. If Tulowitzki is willing to change to second base, he makes perfect sense for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Why The Brewers Should Sign Tulowitzki
GM David Stearns has basically said he’s looking for a bargain on the second base market. It’s going to be difficult to find a bigger bargain than Tulowitzki. He’s going to sign for league-minimum on a one year, prove it deal, and is a former star player that will lengthen the Brewers lineup.
Playing in hitter-friendly Miller Park should also help improve Tulo’s offensive numbers. He’ll improve the defense playing at second base, and he’ll make this team better.
David Stearns prides himself on building a roster with a lot of depth. If Tulowitzki gets hurt again, Hernan Perez, Tyler Saladino, and Mauricio Dubon will be able to cover the position until he comes back or Keston Hiura is ready. The Brewers will be covered. Tulo should at least be good for long enough to allow Dubon to get his feet back under him in Triple-A, meaning the Brewers will always be able to have three options available to them at the position.
And if Tulo is able to stay healthy all season long, there’s a high probability he’ll be a Comeback Player of the Year type guy. He is a star player, offensively and defensively, when he’s healthy. If they get a healthy Tulo in that lineup, the Brewers will go from dangerous to deadly.
There’s little risk involved in signing a former star player to a league minimum contract. If he gets injured, they’re covered. If he stays healthy, the Brewers will have found the biggest bargain on the market. It would be a low-risk, high-reward move, and there’s no reason not to make those moves.
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If the Milwaukee Brewers do sign Tulo, this team next year just got a lot more interesting.