With a minimum of two years and 38 million remaining on Troy Tulowitzki’s contract, he’s a difficult player to trade. However, where there’s a will there’s a way, and here are few somewhat feasible possibilities for how to move the veteran this offseason.
The Blue Jays are fully expected to employ a youth movement in 2019 and beyond, and we already got a pretty good taste of the future in August and September of this season. Promoted minor leaguers like Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Danny Jansen, Ryan Borucki, and more showed us there is plenty to be excited about with the future of this team, even if they may need some time to adapt to the big league level.
This past season we witnessed some veterans step aside for the sake of their younger teammates, giving them a chance to play down the stretch in a lost season. We watched it happen with Russell Martin, who barely saw the field in September, and others like Kendrys Morales and Justin Smoak as well.
That same thing will likely happen again in 2019 for the veteran holdovers, and that will include Troy Tulowitzki, assuming he’s healthy. The 5x All-Star has almost been forgotten by some fans, as he was never able to get healthy enough to play in 2018, and suited up for just 66 games in 2017. The 33 year old is adamant that he can still be a quality starting shortstop at the highest level, but at this stage it’s hard to trust that he’ll make it back at all, let alone thrive if and when he does.
With the youth movement in Toronto, there’s no guarantee there will be playing time for him when he returns either, not with the emergence of Gurriel Jr, the solid play of Aledmys Diaz, and the eventual promotion of Bo Bichette. Tulowitzki also mentioned back in September that he was unwilling to move off of his career-long position, further complicating matters.
The obvious course of action would be to trade the former Colorado Rockie. The problem is, he’s still got two years remaining on his current deal that guarantees him 34 million, and his 15 million dollar option for 2021 carries a four million dollar buyout, bringing the minimum financial commitment up to 38 million over the next two seasons. In order to move a contract like that, the Blue Jays would have to either eat a significant chunk of money, or take a “bad” contract back in return.
While there aren’t a lot of options out there for Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro to explore, I can think of at least a few possibilities, assuming the other party is willing to even entertain the idea. Let’s have a look.