Blue Jays set to soar with the real Troy Tulowitzki


Entering his first full spring training with the Toronto Blue Jays, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki‘s health and comfort should return him to elite status in 2016 (as if he left)

Troy Tulowitzki is finally feeling a little more at home with the Toronto Blue Jays after a 2015 deadline deal uprooted him from the familiar surroundings of Colorado. Even with 41 regular season and 11 playoff games with the Jays in 2015, the coming season should be a debut of the real Tulo.

“Coming to spring training and knowing the coaches and the organization a little bit and some of my teammates has definitely made this transition a little bit easier,” the 31-year-old told Shi Davidi in Dunedin this week.

With six seasons of a 5.0+ WAR since 2007, Tulowitzki is undeniably one of the game’s great shortstops. An underwhelming start to his Blue Jays career does not change that, and coming off a 2014 season in which he posted a 5.2 WAR in just 91 games, it’s not yet time to worry about Father Time. At all.

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Tulowitzki is now hoping to get back across the 130 game plateau that he’s crossed just three times as a major league player, and with some swing developments that are causing an offseason buzz, there’s ample reason to be excited for what the coming summer could hold.

“Every off-season I try to get myself better as a player,” Tulowitzki told Davidi. “I know I can be a way better offensive player than I was (in Toronto), I went through a few things and changed some things up to try and better myself. There’s a little bit of a leg kick in there, but some of the stuff I do up top is real similar.”

Beyond the mammoth ceiling of his bat and glove, there’s the still-underrated impact of Tulowitzki in the clubhouse. For those of you who fill the winter baseball void with hockey, consider Tulowitzki to be the Jonathan Toews of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Much of what has transformed the Blue Jays clubhouse in to a great strength is the balance they now have. From the stoic Jose Bautista to the warm and thoughtful R.A. Dickey, from the off-the-walls Marcus Stroman to the strong and silent type in Tulo, all of the pieces fit.

Keep in mind that Tulowitzki has five years remaining on his contract with a team option that would take him through his age-36 season.

Jose Bautista is on an expiring contract, as you may have heard. The same goes for Edwin Encarnacion, and while Josh Donaldson just inked a two-year deal with one arbitration year remaining beyond that, Tulowitzki appears to be here for the long(est) haul.

After the 2016 of Tulo, everyone will be left feeling a little better about that.