Troy Tulowitzki held a workout yesterday for at least eleven MLB teams, including the Baltimore Orioles
We don’t know how serious the Baltimore Orioles might be about pursuing and signing shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, but we know that they were in attendance for the workout Tulowitzki held on Tuesday afternoon.
Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports originally reported on the workout, acknowledging the Orioles presence there, and writing of Tulowitzki’s agility while fielding grounders, and on him looking good in batting practice.
Tulowitzki was once one of the premier shortstops in the majors; a perennial all-star during his days in Colorado, Tulowitzki hit .300/.375/.524 for the Rockies from 2007-2014, his ages 22-29 seasons.
During that stretch, Tulowitzki won two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers, and finished top-5 in the NL MVP voting twice. He has 44.1 career bWAR in just 1286 games; that’s a full season’s worth of value more than Harold Baines had, in roughly 45% fewer games played.
But the games played, or in this case not played, is where Tulowitzki’s current reputation as an injury-riddled mess lies.
Now 34, Tulowitzki hasn’t had a full season’s worth of plate appearances since 2009. Look at his Baseball Prospectus page and scroll down to the injury history section; there are 36 entries there, and BP stopped updating their injury stuff in 2014! That doesn’t include his trips to the DL in 2017 due to ankle injuries, or him missing the entire 2018 season with bone spurs in both feet.
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When healthy, Tulowitzki was one of the best shortstops in baseball. The problem is that he was never healthy long enough to truly be a difference maker. The Rockies got tired of dealing with it in 2015 and shipped him to Toronto, and this offseason the Blue Jays decided the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze and released him, despite being on the hook for the remainder of his contract, at $38 million.
Because the Blue Jays are on the hook for his contract, Tulowitzki can be had by other major league teams this season for the major league minimum, which is just north of $555k. At that price, someone is going to take a chance on him, and they should. There’s an off chance that Tulowitzki can still hit, and can still provide value, albeit unlikely that’ll come in an every day role.
And because he’s available for that price, the Orioles were in attendance for Tulowitzki’s workout yesterday, forcing fans to wonder if the O’s would consider making a push to sign him. But it’s doubtful that he’d be willing to come to Baltimore.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle interviewed Tulowitzki’s agent, Paul Cohen recently about Tulowitzki potentially going to the Giants. Cohen said of Tulowitzki, “Location is one of the factors, and obviously he’s from the Bay Area…winning is very important, and geography is an issue”.
Baltimore isn’t close to home, and the Orioles aren’t winning. This probably isn’t an ideal fit.
During the interview, when asked about where Tulowitzki can play Cohen said this: “Troy would be willing to change positions…he still sees himself as a shortstop and he grades out as a shortstop, but we did talk about the possibility of moving positions if he became a free agent”.
The Orioles do love versatility and it’s likely something that would be required if Tulowitzki came to Baltimore, but the two factors mentioned above are likely deal-breakers for him. Plus, we’re not sure if the Orioles would be willing to offer everyday reps to Tulowitzki, considering the selection of shortstop Richie Martin in the Rule 5 draft.
Tulowitzki will be cheap, and it would probably be a win-win for the Orioles if they were to sign him. But this doesn’t feel realistic, and Orioles fans shouldn’t get worked up over it.