Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays shocked baseball when they pulled off a deal for Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki ahead of the 2015 trade deadline. Unfortunately, Tulowitzki was among the most surprised. Following the Blue Jays game six defeat in Kansas City, he opened up on the trying season that was in an excellent interview with Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet.
Colorado was home for the perennial All Star, and despite their own struggles as an organization, Tulowitzki saw himself there long-term. Following the deal to Toronto, however, rumblings leaked immediately that Rockies management had not kept their franchise player in the loop, blindsiding him with a ticket out of the country.
“You know what, and this is just being completely honest, it’s tough for me now to trust anybody in this game after what happened,” Tulowitzki tells Zwelling. “I’m sure these guys (in the Blue Jays front office) are great here. But at the same time, with what happened, it’s really tough.”
This is a valuable look inside the mind of a major league player, because for all the hours spent at the ball field and in the clubhouse, they do not disapear when they leave the complex. Tulowitzki does not step onto Blue Jays Way and dissolve into dust, only to reform when his baseball skills are needed the next day. There is a home life, including a family for most.
MLB players lead a privileged life, but Tulowitzki was forced to experience one of the great downsides to professional sports: the lack of control. If you arrived at your office tomorrow morning, your organization’s star employee for your entire career, and were told that you were being transferred to another branch in another country, how would that sit? One more thing, you have to be there tomorrow.
In 41 games with the Blue Jays, Tulowitzki posted a triple slash of .239 / .317 / .380, adding just five home runs and 17 RBI but contributing excellent defense. Even in the tightest-knit of clubhouses, Tulo admitted that he’d need a full offseason and spring training program to settle in.
“I mean, these guys are great and I’m getting to know them. But at the same time, when you don’t spend the whole year with the team, it’s hard to feel settled,” Tulowitzki said. “Now that I’m here though, I figure things happen for a reason. And this team is really good and I’m excited to come back next year.”
It’s difficult not to feel for Tulowitzki, who was so firmly entrenched in a sense of normalcy with the Rockies. Looking ahead, though, the Blue Jays should return a healthy version of him to their lineup in 2016, giving them potentially the top offensive shortstop in the game. Toronto may soon become the new normal for Tulowitzki, but after his experiences in 2015, he may not let himself be fully comfortable in the big leagues again.
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