As Opening Day on March 29 against the Yankees approaches, it’s looking more and more as if Troy Tulowitzki won’t be ready to assume his customary role as the Blue Jays starting shortstop.
Coming into camp, the news was that Tulowitzki’s rehab wasn’t progressing as well as to be expected. Maybe this shouldn’t have been as much of a surprise considering several of the moves Toronto completed this winter. The Blue Jays made it a top priority this off-season to beef-up their infield depth by adding Aledmys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte. Considering this, perhaps we should have known something was up with Tulowitzki.
Tulowitzki’s misfortune may be the opportunity Diaz needs to get back to being the player he was back in 2016 when he was an all-star and .300 hitter. Diaz’ promising play from two seasons ago unfortunately didn’t carry over into 2017, as he’d end up losing his starting job to Paul DeJong and eventually find himself playing a good portion of the year down in Triple A where his struggles only continued.
For Diaz to get back to the player he was during his rookie year, the increased playing time that will come with Tulowitzki’s injury may be just what he needs. With Tulowitzki out, it also means Toronto won’t have to wait long to see just what kind of player they have in Diaz. Whether he’s more like the Rookie of the Year candidate he was in 2016…or the demoted to the minors player he was last season.
Tulowitzki is an incredible defender, but since coming to the Blue Jays, he’s proven to be a mediocre hitter and not the most reliable option given that he’s often getting injured. If Diaz can prove he can be anywhere close to as good as he was during his rookie campaign, the question then becomes who should be starting at shortstop moving forwards…Tulowitki, or Diaz?