Giants, Pirates may be leading candidates for Tulowitzki

Former Toronto Blue Jays infielder, Troy Tulowitzki held an open workout for Major League baseball teams on Tuesday, December 18th. According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports over 11 teams were present for the workout. The San Francisco Giants had the most “impressive” representation and could be in line to make a serious push for the 34-year old infielder, who is a year-and-a-half removed from major league action.

Many of the usual suspects were on hand for the workouts including the Yankees, Cubs, and Phillies – teams that tend to be associated with every major free agent this hot stove season. But the Giants and the Pirates are two teams who could be among Tulowitzki’s most serious suitors.

According to Brown, the Giants were represented by their new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy among others. Tulowitzki is from California and played college baseball at Long Beach State. During the winter meetings, Zaidi made a point of referencing the left-right balance found in the pitching rotations within their division, the National League West. He went on to say that the idea of being able to have a roster where left-handed and right-handed hitters could be optimized based on that day’s pitcher, similar the approach the Los Angeles Dodgers attempted in the World Series, could have appeal.

The Pirates are in need of a shortstop, having no clear candidate to replace departed shortstop Jordy Mercer, who signed with the Detroit Tigers. The Tulowitzki connection comes in the form of manager Clint Hurdle who was Tulowitzki’s manager in Colorado for nine seasons, which represented the most productive time of the shortstop’s career.

The 34-year old Tulowitzki has not played since July of 2017 when an ankle injury forced him out on the disabled list. According to Brown, Tulowitzki cited a need to “get myself right mentally and physically” as his reasoning for missing all of 2018 and the former Blue Jays all-star proclaimed he was looking forward to playing the game he loves.

The Blue Jays are still on the hook for the $38 million salary Tulowitzki is due in 2019. That means that any team that signs Tulowitzki would only have to offer him a contract for the major league minimum. That would seem to make Tulowitzki an attractive option for a number of teams. In his last full season, his production, while not his career highs, was still attractive with a slash line of .254/.318/.443 with 24 home runs and 21 doubles.