NEW YORK—The New York Yankees obtained a low-cost infield replacement, agreeing to a one-year contract with former Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for the major league minimum of $555,000 (all dollars U.S.) — pending a physical.
A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the deal, first reported by ESPN, to The Associated Press.
Tulowitzki is owed $20 million for next year, $14 million for 2020 and a $4-million buyout of a 2021 team option — all to be paid by the Blue Jays, minus the minimum salary.
For this year, $5 million of his salary is deferred at 3 per cent interest and payable in 10 equal installments, every Jan. 1 from 2025-34. In addition, the buyout is due in $2-million installments on July 1 in 2021 and 2022.
Tulowitzki idolized retired Yankees captain Derek Jeter and has worn No. 2 in his honour. A five-time all-star who turned 34 in October, Tulowitzki has not played in the major leagues since July 2017 and was released by the Blue Jays last month. He was limited to 66 games in 2017 because of a hamstring and right ankle injury, then had surgery for bone spurs on both ankles last spring and missed the entire 2018 season.
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Oct. 17 and is not expected to return until summer. New York also has been talking with Manny Machado, one of the top available free agents. Tulowitzki could slot in at shortstop, allowing Gleyber Torres to remain at second baseman and Miguel Andujar to stay at third.
Tulowitzki was drafted seventh overall by Colorado in 2005, became a star with the Rockies and agreed after the 2010 season to a 10-year, $157.75 million contract that added $132 million over seven seasons. Colorado dealt him in July 2015 to Toronto in a deal that brought shortstop Jose Reyes to the Rockies.
While Tulowitzki helped the Blue Jays reach that year’s AL Championship Series, he slumped the next year and then was derailed by injuries.