Could the Mariners Make a Run at Veteran SS Troy Tulowitzki?
By Tyler Wicke
Yesterday, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reported that Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto may search for a veteran shortstop this offseason to “serve as a stopgap” in case newly acquired JP Crawford isn’t ready to go on Opening Day.
Though some may be frustrated with the news regarding the player Seattle received for All-Star Jean Segura, there is simply no reason to rush his progression in the majors. Crawford is only 23, has been a top prospect for the past four years, and let’s face it – 2019 is not a year the Mariners look to contend in any way.
Then, a potential domino fell in the quest to acquire such a player. On Tuesday afternoon around noon Pacific, the Toronto Blue Jays announced the release of veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. This name will be familiar to many – the 34-year-old is a five-time All-Star and 2-time Silver Slugger. And if the offensive statistics aren’t enough for you – he holds the all-time MLB Record for fielding percentage as a shortstop – an incredible .985.
But recently, Tulowitzki has yet to live up to his 10-year, $157,750,000 contract that expires in 2021. After being traded to Toronto in 2015, he was injured shortly after and then struggled in the 2016 season. He played just 66 games in 2017 and did not see the field for the entire 2018 season.
Despite his struggles, Tulowitzki’s release is surprising. Jerry Dipoto could very well attempt to add him to the team, simply to serve as a filler until JP Crawford is ready to go. And what is best about the entire situation – Toronto will be on the hook for the last 3 years of his contract, totaling $38 million.
For the Mariners, there is little downside. They will not be stuck with a huge contract, and they could strike gold if Tulowitzki has a bounce-back start to the season, giving Seattle a great trade piece for the July deadline.
The Mariners won’t be the only team looking to acquire Tulowitzki this offseason, so it will be interesting to see how the situation unfolds. But if Dipoto is truly looking for a veteran shortstop, Tulowitzki may be the best option he has.