Gerry’s Percentages: December 5th
Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said Wednesday that Troy Tulowitzki has an uphill battle to play regularly and win back the Jays’ shortstop job.
“Candidly, and I think Troy would agree with me, that is not likely. He will have to overachieve to play shortstop at an above-average offensive performance for 140 games. That would be unlikely based on what has occurred in the last two and a half years. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to do it, but candidly, I don’t think that’s likely,” Atkins told the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America on Wednesday, adding that Tulowitzki looks healthy.
Atkins said he has been in touch with the 34-year-old Tulowitzki throughout the off-season and expects to meet with his agent next week during the winter meetings in Las Vegas.
“To call him a part-time player, the honest answer to that is I don’t know; we’re not going to label him anything just yet but I think it’s unlikely that he plays an above-average shortstop for 140 games,” Atkins said.
According to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, Tulowitzki has essentially said that he’s not willing to move off shortstop. Atkins was asked if he thought that could be an issue going forward.
“We’ll see. At this point, we’re just focused on what we can control.”
The Jays GM said Wednesday that if the season was starting today, he would tab 25-year-old Lourdes Gurriel Jr. as the starting shortstop. Gurriel hit .281 with 11 home runs in 249 at-bats last season as a rookie.
Tulowitzki missed the entire season after undergoing surgery on both his feet. He is still owed $34 million in base salary by the Jays and is under club control until 2020. He then carries a $15 million team option for 2021 with a $4 million buyout attached.
In 66 games in 2017, he hit .249 with seven home runs and 26 RBI.
Meanwhile, the Toronto BBWAA chapter finalized their annual Blue Jays awards on Wednesday. The results are as follows:
MVP: Justin Smoak
Top Pitcher: J.A. Happ
Top Rookie: Ryan Borucki
Most Improved: Luke Maile