Despite an off year both on offense and defense, Troy Tulowitzki still has it in him to be one of the better defensive shortstops in the American League. Although he’s no Andrelton Simmons when it comes to playing shortstop, if Tulowitzki can regain the defensive form that served him so well in 2016 (1.8 dWAR, 10 DRS), the Blue Jays still have a very respectable shortstop.
The big question now is whether the oft injured Tulowitzki can remain healthy for enough of the 2018 season for his defensive prowess to make a difference. Given that he isn’t getting any younger, and that there’s still three years remaining on his contract, the Blue Jays must be wondering how much they’ll be lucky to get out of their 33-year old injury prone shortstop.
With the Colorado Rockies, Tulowitzki was a .300 hitter, 5-time all-star, and won two gold gloves. It’s safe to say he was one of the better all-around players in the National League, that is, when he was healthy. Tulowitzki’s decline in production since joining the Blue Jays in 2015 is a perfect example of the considerable difference there is when playing in Toronto compared to a hitters haven like Coors Field.
Playing all those years in Colorado may have given Tulowitzki a definitive advantage at the plate, but it certainly didn’t on defense. As long as he’s with the Blue Jays, Tulowitzki will never hit on par to what he did with the Rockies. Thankfully, the defensive side of his game still has the potential to be what it was when he was winning gold gloves in 2010 and 2011.
If he remains healthy, Toronto has a pretty good idea what they’ll get from Tulowitzki on defense. Offensively, what they can hope for next season is something similar to the numbers he put up in 2016 when he hit .254 with 24 HR and 79 RBI. Those kind of numbers aren’t exactly what one would expect from a player making $20 million/year. But given his strength on defense, leadership skills, and decent bat, he’s still capable of being a solid player for Toronto, even if he doesn’t live up to that hefty salary.