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MLB rumors: How serious are Yankees about Troy Tulowitzki? What scouts are saying about free-agent shortstop

The New York Yankees are shopping for a shortstop to replace the injured Didi Gregorius, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Option No. 1 appears to be signing free-agent slugger Manny Machado.

But it’s sounding like plan B could be free-agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who the Toronto Blue Jays released on Dec. 11.

The Yankees were one of 11 teams to watch Tulowitkzi work out this week in California. Per the New York Post’s George King, Tulowitzki could be a legitimate option for shortstop in 2019.

The Yankees had scout JT Stotts watch Tulowitzki’s workout Wednesday at Long Beach State, where, according to people in attendance, he moved well defensively and shelved the closed batting stance he was working on last spring training.

According to former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, Tulowitzki’s offensive slipped after he joined the Blue Jays in 2015 and has never returned to the level that made him an All Star. However, even though Tulowitzki hasn’t played in a big league game since late July 2017, Gibbons believes the defensive prowess that led to two Gold Glove awards remains intact.

“I think he can still play defense, offensively it has gone downhill,’’ Gibbons told The Post.

Since any club signing Tulowitzki will be on the hook for only the major league minimum and because of his pedigree, he is intriguing option and a very low risk.

MLB free agency tracker

The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo’s report on the workout also suggests the 34-year-old Tulowitzki could make major contributions in 2019.

Tulowitzki looked fluid and healthy, according to one assistant general manager whose scout watched during his workout in Long Beach, Calif., this past week. Tulowitzki left scouts thinking he can play this season after missing 2018 with surgery on both heels. The next step for teams who watched him was to double-check video of the workout to see if there was anything awkward that wasn’t detected live. Another potential problem is workouts don’t tell you whether he can hold up over the long haul. “That’s the chance you take,” said the assistant GM. “Because it’s a deal where you’re only giving up the minimum salary, then it makes it less risky to take that chance. If he’s OK, who doesn’t love his offense? He seems to be driving the ball again like he used to. But, of course, it was a workout, not a live game.”

Mike Rosenstein may be reached at mrosenstein@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @rosenstein73. Find NJ.com on Facebook.



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