Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Toronto Blue Jays
news

Blue Jays News

Tulo: Blue Jays went in 'different direction'

Shortstop, who signed 1-year deal with Yankees, sought a contender, veteran presence
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- Troy Tulowitzki is embracing a fresh start with the Yankees and admits that his former Blue Jays team is "heading in a different direction than I wanted to go.'

Tulowitzki made the comments during a Monday afternoon conference call with New York reporters. The media availability came almost a week after the injury-prone infielder signed a one-year deal with the Yankees for the Major League minimum salary.

TORONTO -- Troy Tulowitzki is embracing a fresh start with the Yankees and admits that his former Blue Jays team is "heading in a different direction than I wanted to go.'

Tulowitzki made the comments during a Monday afternoon conference call with New York reporters. The media availability came almost a week after the injury-prone infielder signed a one-year deal with the Yankees for the Major League minimum salary.

The Blue Jays parted ways with Tulowitzki after a meeting with his representatives last month in Las Vegas. Toronto still owes Tulowitzki $38 million over the next two years -- minus the league minimum salary -- but the club felt compelled to make the move and clear the path for some of its younger players.

"I think they were kind of heading in a different direction than I wanted to go," Tulowitzki said. "They were going to go young and commit to their young players. They have some good ones over there. But for me, it was about wanting to win a world championship and play with veteran players."

Tulowitzki hasn't played in a big league game since July 28, 2017, because of injuries. First it was a severely sprained right ankle, which cost him the final two months of '17. Then it was bone spurs in each of his feet, which had to be surgically removed last spring and ended up costing him all of '18.

There did not appear to be much faith within the Blue Jays organization that Tulowitzki would be able to make a full recovery. Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said that Tulowitzki would have to "overachieve" to play an above-average shortstop for 140 games, a comment which came just days before cutting him loose. The fact that the Blue Jays didn't even wait until Spring Training to make the move spoke volumes.

Video: Chisholm on Tulowitzki and the Blue Jays parting ways

The Yankees must feel differently, because they have an opening at shortstop and early indications are they intend to use Tulowitzki to fill it. New York reportedly remains interested in free agent Manny Machado, but Tulowitzki is currently at the top of the depth chart, with Didi Gregorius set to miss most of 2019 following Tommy John surgery.

"My heels have been an issue the last couple of years, so having the surgery definitely helped a lot," Tulowitzki said. "Taking the year off last year was something that was tough for me to do, because I enjoy being out there on the field so much. But I think it allowed me to hit that refresh button with my body and catch up in some areas where I was taking the field and constantly not being able to be myself and be confident in my body at times.

"So the year off really put me in position to have that confidence in my workouts and enjoy the game much more than before. Imagine taking steps, and every time you take a step, defensively or running down the line, having this certain feeling and you're dealing with that. That was no fun. Having the workouts and being on the field with no pain definitely instilled that confidence in me and in my body."

Tulowitzki appeared in 238 games for the Blue Jays over parts of three seasons. Injuries prevented him from ever living up to the hype that surrounded his blockbuster trade to Toronto in July 2015, but he was still an integral part of a team that made back-to-back appearances in the American League Championship Series in 2015-16.

The story, as Tulowitzki tells it, is that the heel pain began shortly after joining the Blue Jays, and apparently, the absence of pain has coincided with his departure.

"I really turned a corner about right when the season ended last year," said Tulowitzki, who held a showcase at his former college for teams before signing with the Yankees. "I really started feeling like myself again and like I was headed in the right direction.

"I remember at the All-Star break last year I was still coming back and rehabbing and not feeling quite right. Right around the end of the year I was watching the playoffs, and I started saying, 'Oh man, I'm feeling a lot better and I'm getting excited about the upcoming year.'"

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Troy Tulowitzki