This week the Toronto Blue Jays released their oft-injured shortstop Troy Tulotwitzki.
Tulowitzki or “Tulo” as he’s fondly known, did not play a single game last year and the bluebirds were forced to try out several players at his position during his prolonged absence. However, highly touted prospects Bo Bichette and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. are expected to make the big club next season and thus the team wanted to make sure he would get his best opportunity.
As a Blue Jays fan myself, the date July 28, 2015 is one that I will never forget. The fond memories of then General Manager Alex Anthopoulos pulling off a deal to bring the 6-foot-3 right handed hitter to Toronto was spectacular. In fact his first game as a Jay resulted in a home run – which only hyped up the already delighted fanbase. Tulo came into Toronto still regarded among the best shortstops in the game and his first year and a half with the team showed it. He was an integral part of a Blue Jays team that went to consecutive ALCS Finals. He smashed a dinger against Texas in Game 3 of the ALDS that helped swing that entire series around. For a season and a half the Tulowitzki hype-train was in full effect. However, what happened next was incredibly predictable.
The Writing Was On The Wall
Troy Tulowitzki was battling injuries long before he came to Toronto. Previously in Colorado, he was seen as expendable with top shortstop prospect Trevor Story coming up, coupled with the limited games that Tulo was able to play. Injuries have essentially robbed Tulowitzki of a Hall-of-Fame career. He has a lifetime batting average of .290 with 224 homeruns, 779 runs batted in while being regarded as one of the best defensive shortstops to every play the game. It came as no surprise that he arrived in Toronto with a hefty price tag; his $98 million dollars were absorbed by the Blue Jays under the leadership of Alex Anthopoulos. The former GM of the Jays was asked about the move to release Tulowitzki over the winter meetings.
“I can only speak from my two months with him, no errors, stabilizing our defence. Getting out of the Jose Reyes deal at the time was [also] pretty important for us. But I think he’ll land on his feet, just knowing him, he’s a complete pro, I won’t be surprised to see him bounce back, and hopefully things will work out for him.”- Alex Anthopoulos
Tulo has yet to play in the last year and a half and has not played a major-league game since July 28,2017 after having bone spurs in both his heels. According to his agent Paul Cohen, the shortstop is recovering well and should be in playing form – although not in full-season form – in the near future. Only time will tell if Tulowitzki will ever step foot on a major league field again. One thing that is certain is that despite being brief, the Tulowitzki experiment should be considered a success. His trade signaled a changing of the tide in Toronto. It showed the rest of the MLB that the Jays were in it to win it, and were not going to be shying away from Boston and New York. While it’s unfortunate that he did not play out his entire contract north of the border, there are plenty of young and exciting prospects that are going to be given a chance next year that should help the fans collectively move forward without looking back.