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According to Nicholson-Smith, the Blue Jays didn’t speak with Tulowitzki personally, but general manager Ross Atkins said the team might “potentially” visit with the five-time All-Star.
Nicholson-Smith’s report comes after Atkins was frank about where he thought Tulowitzki fit on the team in 2019. He told reporters Tulowitzki is unlikely to be the team’s everyday shortstop.
“Candidly, and I think Troy would agree with me, that is not likely,” Atkins said, per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “He will have to overachieve to play shortstop at an above-average level, with above-average offensive performance for 140 games. That would be unlikely based on what has occurred in the last two-and-a-half years. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to do it, but candidly, I don’t think that’s likely.”
Atkins later said the Jays are tentatively penciling Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in at shortstop for next season.
If Toronto had its way, the team would probably move on from Tulowitzki altogether.
After undergoing surgery in March to remove bone spurs from both of his heels, he missed the entire 2018 season, and his last appearance was July 28, 2017.
Even during his last relatively healthy season, Tulowitzki was a clear step below the level he enjoyed during his prime years with the Colorado Rockies. He batted .254 with 24 home runs, 79 RBI and a .443 slugging percentage in 2016.
Tulowitzki’s contract presents a problem for the Blue Jays. He’s set to make $34 million over the next two years and has a $4 million buyout in 2021. Toronto will find few takers for that kind of investment given it’s impossible to know how healthy or productive Tulowitzki will be in 2019.
Unless the Blue Jays are willing to eat a ton of dead money and release Tulowitzki outright, they’ll have to make the most of a bad situation. Because of that, reaching out to his agent and potentially meeting with him this offseason makes sense to ensure everybody is on the same page.