Red Sox Considered to Have ‘Legitimate’ Interest in Free Agent Tulowitzki

Before his workout on Wednesday, there had been no real mention of the name Troy Tulowitzki for over a year and a half.

The 34-year-old was once regarded as the best shortstop in all of baseball, but now he’s looking to latch on with a team after being released by Toronto on Dec. 11. Many teams attended his workout, including a certain team from Boston who might be looking to trade off certain pieces in order to shed future payroll.

That’s right, the Boston Red Sox were at the workout.

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe provided insight on the Red Sox interest level since attending the workout.

Image 12-20-18 at 3.15 AM
(via @PeteAbe on Twitter)

Does a Tulowitzki signing mean the end of the Xander Bogaerts era in Boston? Or is he considered to be insurance for if Dustin Pedroia is injured for an extended period of time in 2019?

Putting aside what his role would be for a moment, there’s no guarantee that he can even sustain a level of health that can keep him on the field next season. The bright side is he is only due to make the league minimum for the next team who signs him. He is still being paid $20 million by the Blue Jays as part of his release, so, it’s a low-risk, high-reward type of scenario.

Unfortunately, there has certainly been noticeable regression over the years from the shortstop. Remember, this man played the first nine and a half years of his career at Coors Field in Colorado, before being traded to the Blue Jays in 2015.

There was anticipated decline expected when taking a player like that out of the thin-aired Denver night, yet the drop-off was much more significant than expected. In 2015, Tulowitzki’s OPS went from .818 in Colorado to an abysmal .697 with the Blue Jays.

OK, adjustment period. It seemed as though he might’ve just needed to get acclimated to the AL when he bounced back to post an OPS of .761 in 2016 — not quite the elite-levels he’d put up in Colorado, but still well above average. However, his OPS dropped back down to .678 in just 66 games in 2017 before he went down for the season with nagging right ankle and foot injuries.

The injury problem didn’t get any better for Tulo in 2018, as he underwent surgery on both of his heels in April — and was never to be seen again by the Blue Jays faithful.

Signing a guy in his mid-30s after having pretty significant surgery on his lower body is always risky. But if there is something Tulowitzki can provide, it’s experience and versatility. Add that with his career pull-percentage at 42.1 percent, and you could be getting a potential steal at the league minimum as you round out your spring training roster.

The Red Sox will be competing with the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the New York Yankees for the services, with many indications that the former two are the most likely destinations. The Pirates seem to be the most interested, while the Giants are right in the backyard of the Santa Clara native.

There’s no telling as to what jersey Tulowitzki will be wearing in 2019. Even if the Red Sox don’t seem like the obvious location for Tulo, it wouldn’t be wise to count them out of the running just yet. A right-handed pull-hitter at Fenway Park is never something to rule out of the question.

He’s got just a .251 career average against the rest of the AL East (excluding the Red Sox) but his career slash-line against the New York Yankees is an impressive .283/.341/.449. There is certainly some value there considering he’s going to be signed for pennies on the dollar; it’s just all about what his role would be and where he’d play when in the lineup.

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