The Cubs were among more than a dozen teams that had shown interest in aging shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who was available for the league minimum after the Blue Jays released him and were left on the hook for his remaining $38 million. It made sense that the Cubs would be interested in adding to their infield depth, particularly with Addison Russell set to miss at least a month due to his domestic violence suspension, and the risk was too low to pass up.
Tulowitzki ended up choosing the Yankees, who are without the services of Didi Gregorius and used to employ Tulo’s idol, Derek Jeter. Not to discount the sentimental side of things, but the fact that they were without a shortstop probably factored. And even if Manny Machado eventually signs in New York, the DH provides more playing-time flexibility.
Even with Russell absent, Javy Baez and some combination of Ben Zobrist, Daniel Descalso, and David Bote meant little opportunity for regular playing time for Tulowitzki. Or so any conventional wisdom holds. But a recent report from SNY’s Andy Martino paints a very different — and highly dubious — picture.
The Cubs pursued Tulowitzki to be their starting shortstop, at a minimum for the duration of Addison Russell’s domestic violence suspension, according to sources. The Pirates, managed by Tulowitzki’s former Rockies skipper Clint Hurdle, wanted him to be their shortstop, per sources. The Angels were interested in him as a third baseman.
Yes, you read that correctly: Martino’s source claims the Cubs wanted an injury-riddled 34-year-old to handle a premium defensive position ahead of El Mago. It’s perhaps less laughable that the Pirates would have wanted the same thing, though any team banking on everyday innings from Tulowitzki at this point would be foolish at best. Might teams be willing to take a flyer in the hopes that he can recover enough of that old form to be a serviceable utility bat? Absolutely.
But when a team is willing to eat $38 million in salary to make a guy go away, it doesn’t exactly scream, “This dude is very healthy and ready to post 4.5 WAR!” Given the range of teams being mentioned in Martino’s piece, the likely conclusion is that his source is either Tulowitzki’s agent or the player himself. That would account for the overstated interest in an attempt to paint things in as positive a light as possible.
So why am I even writing about this? Well, because it’s out there it’s related to the Cubs while having nothing to do with Bryce Harper. It’s also a lesson in not believing everything you see out there from “sources.” Oh, and apologies to the gentleman who claimed he was made dumber by my last Tulo post; this surely isn’t going to help.