Tulowitzki could make sense for Giants

Career shortstop would consider positional switch if necessary

December 20th, 2018

As they look to upgrade their offense and depth, an old familiar name might be on the Giants' radar.
One week ago, the Blue Jays made the surprising decision to release five-time All-Star shortstop . With Toronto on the hook for the remaining $38 million on his contract over the next two years, Tulowitzki is now free to sign with any other team for the Major League minimum of $555,000.
Tulowitzki, 34, missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs in his heels and has not played in the Majors since July 28, 2017, but he's finally healthy and worked out for interested teams on Tuesday in Long Beach, Calif.
According to a report from Yahoo Sports, the Giants were among the 11 teams in attendance for the workout, with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy both on hand to watch Tulowitzki field grounders and take batting practice.
"Good minimum-salary players are worth a phone call," Zaidi said when asked about Tulowitzki during the Winter Meetings last week.
Tulowitzki has exclusively played shortstop in the Majors, but he's expressed a willingness to change positions as he searches for a new landing spot. The Giants currently have and entrenched at shortstop and third base, respectively, but Tulowitzki could potentially help shore up second base and serve as a platoon partner for the left-handed-hitting Joe Panik, who batted .282 against righties compared to .191 against lefties in 2018.

Tulowitzki, a right-handed batter, is a career .290 hitter in the Majors and has been particularly effective against lefties, batting .307 with a .919 OPS. Zaidi has said he hopes to incorporate more platoons into the Giants' offensive strategy moving forward, which could add to Tulowitzki's appeal.
"I don't think it's an efficient use of a roster spot to have a guy who's just a pinch-hitter slash team mascot," Zaidi said. "I'd rather have the guy that knows he's going to be starting four or five times a week or two or three times a week. In the [National League] West now, when you kind of look around at the rotations, there's more a left-right balance than there is in other divisions. I think that speaks even more to the benefit of having a balance of left-handed, right-handed hitters and having different lineups in those two cases. As we're talking through potential additions on the position player side, that kind of specialization is pretty attractive."
Tulowitzki is three years removed from his last All-Star appearance and faces durability questions following his lengthy injury history, but he could be a tremendous bargain if he's able to recapture his old form. Given his past success and minimal cost, Tulowitzki will likely have a fair number of suitors, though the Giants have a bit of a geographical advantage.
Tulowitzki grew up in Sunnyvale rooting for the A's, and his agent, Paul Cohen, recently told the San Francisco Chronicle that a return to the Bay Area would be appealing.
"Location is one of the factors, and obviously he's from the Bay Area -- that would have a lot of interest for him," Cohen said.