Now, it appears the Cubs are at the very least doing their due diligence:
Cubs are one of the teams that has at least been in contact with Tulo, and they will send a scout to a workout. There are others though, so they aren’t necessarily the favorite. His agent told @susanslusser there are 6 teams and they will narrow field soon.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 15, 2018
Troy Tulowitzki’s agent, Paul Cohen, tells me they are narrowing the field of suitors tomorrow. They have not heard from the A’s, Tulo’s favorite childhood team and one he expressed interest in playing for. Right now, six teams are in the running.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 14, 2018
This MLB Trade Rumors article has some guesses as to which teams might be interested in Tulo:
Speculatively speaking, the Pirates, Mets, Yankees, Padres or Brewers could be potential fits for the 6-time All-Star.
The MLBTR article goes on to mention Heyman’s tweet posted above and the Cubs’ interest in him.
As I noted in the other article, Tulowitzki hasn’t played — anywhere — since the middle of 2017, with bone spurs in his heel being the issue. Reportedly he’s healthy and ready to go, and at age 34 he’d probably be willing to take a bench role on a contending team. The Cubs certainly qualify there. The MLBTR article speculated about several other teams, but of the clubs mentioned above, only the Yankees and Brewers would qualify as contending teams.
Tulowitzki has never played a position other than shortstop in the big leagues, but if healthy, he’d certainly be athletic enough to play second base, and perhaps even third base or the outfield. Here’s what Joe Maddon said about Tulo during the Winter Meetings:
“I knew, obviously, him and Longo were buds,” said Maddon, referring to Evan Longoria, whom the manager knows from their years with the Rays. “I don’t know health-wise where he’s at. He was fabulous. When he was in Denver, I loved what I saw. That’s been a while ago. I know the health has been an issue lately. I know Longo likes him a lot, which is good enough for me.”
Tulowitzki could fill in while Addison Russell is on suspension, backing up Javier Baez at shortstop and playing other positions as well. If he’s anywhere close to what he used to be, that could possibly help a decision to move on from Russell as well, if the Cubs choose to go that way.
The Blue Jays owe Tulowitzki $20 million in 2019 and $14 million in 2020. There’s a $4 million buyout for his contract for 2021, thus the $38 million total figure. Any team that signs him would simply pay him the league minimum, with Toronto picking up the rest of the contract.
If Tulo is interested in becoming a Cub, signing him is really a no-brainer if he’s healthy. There’s zero risk, as he’d be signed to a minor-league deal and only added to the 40-man and 25-man rosters before Opening Day. If things didn’t go right during spring training, the Cubs could simply release him with little or no financial liability.
Here’s hoping the scout for the Cubs sees that health during the upcoming workout.