Injury Impact On Troy Tulowitzki Signing (Fantasy Baseball)
The baseball offseason is slowly moving along. While everyone is holding their breath to see where Manny Machado and Bryce Harper end up, teams are still looking to make moves and fill rosters. The Yankees have been active this offseason, and their latest move was adding 34-year-old shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. He will presumably fill in for Didi Gregorius while the starting shortstop recovers from Tommy John surgery before serving as a veteran bench presence for the remainder of the season.
The Blue Jays released Tulowitzki in early December after missing all of 2018 dealing with bone spurs, which required surgery. A reported 16 teams including the Cubs, Pirates, and Angels pursued the shortstop. The Yankees snagged him for a league-minimum deal, with the Blue Jays continuing to pay out the rest of his contract. Although he comes at a low price, it should be noted that Tulowitzki has played more than 140 games only three times since joining the major leagues in 2007. He last did so back in 2011. A particularly concerning detail of his missed time: His injuries over the last few years seem to be recurring lower-body ailments in different areas.
His injury troubles started early. Since his rookie year, he has missed time with a left quadriceps tendon tear in 2008, a left groin injury in 2012, a rib fracture in 2013, surgery to repair a torn left hip labrum in 2014, a fractured scapula in 2015, a right quad strain in 2016, a right hamstring strain and right ankle sprain in 2017, and he missed all of 2018 with bilateral bone spurs at the Achilles tendon insertion.
While injuries are expected from a professional athlete over the course of a 162-game season, the amount of time missed and chronic nature of different lower-body injuries is concerning. Labral surgery is also an important event to note. The labrum in the hips and shoulders provide stability to those joints. There is a natural “vacuum” effect in a healthy labrum that we lose when they are torn or injured that unfortunately is impossible to recreate with surgical repairs. Even after recovery, the absence of that stability can lead to surrounding muscles working overtime and could be related to why we see different hip, ankle, and foot injuries popping up in the time since then. Although the injuries are occurring on both sides of his body, it points to an ongoing, unresolved stabilization or mechanics issue.
Regardless of injuries, Tulowitzki’s incredibly impressive professional resume includes two Gold Glove Awards, two Silver Sluggers, and five All-Star appearances. He has the accolades and skillset to show he still belongs as an MLB starting shortstop. However, it will be interesting to see how his body holds up as an everyday player again. Depending on how Gregorius recovers, he could return to action sometime around the All-Star break. If that is the case, Tulowitzki will be expected to start somewhere close to at least half a season’s worth of games. The Yankees also have Tyler Wade and Gleyber Torres, who could supplement playing time in the infield. They could also continue adding players this offseason. If he can stay healthy, Tulowitzki could be a mid-draft steal to keep on your bench or utilize regularly if he heats up at the plate. This infield situation is definitely one to monitor as the season approaches.