The Toronto Blue Jays have been lacking offense and have a revolving door at the short stop position. Troy Tulowitzki can’t return soon enough.
Some of you will read the title of this and prepare to fire your hate at me. But, hear me out. The Toronto Blue Jays are in a bad way. Their month of May has resulted in a 9 – 16 record at the time of writing, with two more games against the Red Sox to be played. The pitching has been disappointing, but so too has the offense.
Remember last season when we were lamenting at bats going to Ryan Goins (69 wRC+) and Darwin Barney (58 wRC+)? Sure, we had reason to complain. But, in 2018, the story has not been much different. Think about the host of names we’ve seen in and out of the short stop position. We saw the month start with Aledmys Diaz (87 wRC+). We’ve seen Lourdes Gurriel Jr.(42 wRC+). We’ve seen Richard Urena (SSS: 93 wRC+). We’ve seen Yangervis Solarte play in a position he probably shouldn’t be playing in. We’ve seen Russell Martin (what are they doing with him?!) make multiple starts at short. And, we have Gio Urshela (23 wRC+) filling in there as well. The short stop position has been a rather empty offensive spot for the Blue Jays. Defensively, the revolving door has allowed a few balls to pass through. It hasn’t exactly been a bright spot in that area either.
A healthy Troy Tulowitzki would go a long way to fixing the revolving door issue. Yes, I am aware of how everyone feels about his contributions as a Blue Jay. I’ve heard it all: he’s overpaid, he’s washed up, he’s done, he’s DFA material. I just don’t buy any of it. When Tulo is healthy, he is a valuable short stop. Is he elite? Well, probably not. His defense sure is pretty to watch, even if he’s lost a step or two. Remember when numerous fans said Goins was better defensively than Tulo? Yeah, he wasn’t. In 2016, Tulo put up 10 DRS to Goins’ 1. In 2017, Tulo put up 0 DRS, which is still better than Goins’ -5.
Offensively speaking, Tulo has had his struggles, for sure. But, let’s be real, when healthy, he is capable of putting up much better numbers than the revolving door has. In 2015, he put up 101 wRC+. 2016 saw 103. He gets on base, doesn’t strike out too much, he makes contact, he has power. There is no question that a healthy Tulo would be a welcome addition to a Blue Jays offense that is sitting 27th in baseball with 7.7 hits per game, 15th in SLG% with .408, 17th in OPS with 0.718.
Of course, the argument will be that Tulo is never healthy. And, when he is healthy, he doesn’t produce. That’s just not all that true. When he is healthy, he brings value. Now, value is always centered around how much money a guy is making. For Tulo, $20M might look like some of those negative comments about him are true. He’s disappointed over the last couple of years, but he’s not been quite as terrible a contract as people think. Consider the Blue Jays lace a value of $9M on a win. According to Fangraphs, Tulo has put up 2.4 fWAR in 2015 and 2.9 in 2016. He definitely can put up 2 wins, which is $18M of value for the Blue Jays.
At the end of the day, the Blue Jays need a lot of things. They need a whole host of players to play like they are capable of…on both sides of the ball. Troy Tulowitzki would go a long way to stopping the revolving door of futility at short stop. He would be an offensive upgrade. He’s been cleared to start running after his foot surgeries but is a while away from coming back to the Blue Jays lineup.
I don’t want to overstate the impact Tulo would have on the Blue Jays. It’s not like we should start planning a parade because he has returned. But, if you ask me, his return cannot come fast enough. The Blue Jays need him.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.