Troy Tulowitzki
Robb Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Yankees need to add an infielder, but oft-injured Troy Tulowitzki should not be the choice. Stay far away.

The New York Yankees have an infield dilemma.

No, I don’t mean the Sophie’s Choice which is choosing between Miguel Andujar and Manny Machado. Rather, I mean the issue GM Brian Cashman is facing regarding the middle infield.

Didi Gregorius is out until at least the All-Star Break, and common wisdom suggests Gleyber Torres will shift to shortstop from second base in his absence. New York has a fine option in prospect Tyler Wade to play second, except the front office may think differently.

Per Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, the Yankees will “monitor” former All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who missed all of 2018 with double heel surgery.

Um, excuse me??? Am I hearing this right? Don’t get me wrong, Cashman has made some questionable decisions in the past, but that he’s even considering Tulowitzki is a terrible idea.

Troy Tulowitzki was a very good player once upon a time. Now, as a potential Yankee, he would only drag the team down.

Snakebit by injury

Just how good a player was Troy Tulowitzki in his prime? Well, quite good, actually. He hit .291 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI in 2007 and finished second behind Ryan Braun in NL Rookie of the Year voting. His Colorado Rockies also made the World Series and though Tulowitzki only hit .195 in the postseason, he was 22 years old and had his whole career ahead of him.

At least, that would have been the case had the injury bug not shown up the following year. In reality, it was more an injury snake and Tulowitzki was having some bad luck playing Oregon Trail. Throughout his career, no matter how many times he played, that snake always found a way to bite him.

Tulowitzki has only played in over 140 games three times in his career. The saddest part is because of his injury woes, he may have cost himself a shot at the Hall of Fame. Despite his inability to stay healthy, he still has five All-Star selections and two Gold Gloves to his name. He easily could have had more if not for a laundry list of injuries:

  • 2008- limited to 101 games due to quad and hand injuries.
  • 2010- missed six weeks with a broken wrist
  • 2012- limited to 47 games because of groin surgery
  • 2013- missed 25 games with a broken rib
  • 2014- limited to 91 games with an injured hip
  • 2015- missed 18 games with a cracked scapula
  • 2016- missed 20 games with a quad strain
  • 2017- limited to 66 games with hamstring and ankle injuries
  • 2018- missed entire season with bone spurs in both heels.

It doesn’t take rocket science to see why this is a bad idea. The Yankees need a reliable infielder, not someone on the DL so often that he pays rent.

In-house options

More importantly, the Yankees don’t need Troy Tulowitzki from a roster perspective. Wade has better speed, can play multiple positions, and has added value as a left-handed bat. He also has years of experience playing second base while Tulowitzki has never played the position in his MLB career. Sure, he could probably make an easy transition from shortstop, but why risk him straining his back bending over to tie his cleats?

Not only that, but Wade deserves a fair shot. This is someone who posted a line of .286/.400/.388 in spring training last season. Those numbers aren’t the prettiest, but Wade still showed fine plate discipline and also hit .310 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017. Had he not come down with an awful case of the flu early in the 2018 season, he easily could have held down second base and kept Torres in the minors.

Also, who says Wade needs to be the guy? The Yankees could also re-sign Neil Walker for another year and let him hold down second until Gregorius comes back, or sign someone else entirely. The idea of Troy Tulowitzki as a reclamation signing is indeed tempting, but not with New York looking to win a World Series. Injuries decimated the Yankees enough in 2018. The last thing the team needs is someone with the physical fragility of C. Montgomery Burns.

Final thoughts

And despite all his injury problems, all the risks that come with him, Troy Tulowitzki deserves a comeback story. He has a career DRS of 93 and has not lost a step in the field, even if he is a prime example of why never to skip leg day. At the plate, he knows how to get the meaty part of the bat on the ball, with career medium and hard contact rates of 48.1 and 34.2 percent.

Well, in the case of the Yankees, they can hope for Tulowitzki to return to form in one hand and pour a serving of garlic fries in the other. We all know which hand will get filled first. The man may have just turned 34, but his body seems 104. Do teams really expect him to make a full-force comeback after double-heel surgery cost him all of 2018?

Troy Tulowitzki just isn’t worth it, even on a minor league deal. Thus, time for the front office to put this idea straight to bed.

Otherwise, it could wind up being a long first half of the season.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.