Troy Tulowitzki is a name that appeared many times over the years in this blog. He has been coveted, mourned and buried for dead. He was once the best shortstop in the game. But he has averaged only 107 games a season in his twelve-year career. Now coming off another lost season, dumped by the Blue Jays, the New York Yankees have taken a no-brain decision to sign him for the league minimum. The Blue Jays, clearly licking their wounds and rebuilding, will pay the rest of his salary.
What is the worst that could happen from this deal? Nothing really. If he gets hurt again, Tulowitzki did not cost anything.
What is the best thing that could happen? The best that could happen is Troy Tulowitzki summoning a bit of his old glory giving the Yankees a fill-in for the injured Didi Gregorius (thus keeping Gleyber Torres at second where he will be when Gregorius returns anyway). He could be a real boost for the Yankees early in the season and it would be a nice story for the former #1 draft pick to rebound for a hurrah.
Consider that despite his injuries, Fangraphs.com has never given Tulowitzki a negative score for his fielding. Baseball-reference.com gave him one negative season for a season he only played 42 games. So, even an older, slightly rickety shortstop like Troy Tulowitzki should give the Yankees some solid defense. If he hits, which he could still do as of 2016, that will be a bonus.
The looming problem will be what will happen if he plays well and Didi returns? Other than DH, Troy Tulowitzki has never played a position other than shortstop in the Major Leagues. Can he fill in at second? Can he fill in at third? Can he play first base? Those are all question marks. He does not fit the normal profile of a utility infielder (and he does not seem to want that either).
One possibility if things go well is that the Yankees can flip him in a trade for a needed piece once Didi returns.
Notice that these thoughts are trying not to mention Manny Machado nor Miguel Andujar. The continued hope here is that the latter will still be here when the season starts and the former will not. A strong comeback for Tulowitzki would be especially needed if the former does not come to Yankee Stadium.
It is truly a shame that Troy Tulowitzki could not totally play to his career potential. His story is not a rare one. Others like Tony Oliva, Rico Carty and even George Brett come to mind. Even if the Yankees had not taken this step, Tulowitzki would be worth rooting for after a career far too marred by injuries.