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The Cubs wanted Troy Tulowitzki to be their starting shortstop

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... but he signed with the Yankees instead.

Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

When the Toronto Blue Jays released Troy Tulowitzki with $38 million remaining on his contract, I wrote that the Cubs should look into signing him.

That was about three and a half weeks ago. Turns out the Cubs were doing just that, writes Andrew Martino of SNY:

The Cubs pursued Tulowitzki to be their starting shortstop, at a minimum for the duration of Addison Russell’s domestic violence suspension, according to sources. The Pirates, managed by Tulowitzki’s former Rockies skipper Clint Hurdle, wanted him to be their shortstop, per sources. The Angels were interested in him as a third baseman.

Martino is a Yankees beat writer who wonders why the Yankees wanted Tulo, given their reportedly strong interest in Manny Machado. But even if the Yankees don’t sign Machado, they have quite a number of options to fill in while Didi Gregorius is on the DL:

If the Yankees don’t sign Machado, they have Tulowitzki, Hanser Alberto, Tyler Wade and Gleyber Torres to fill in at short. They could always get Machado and discard the low-risk, low-cost Tulowitzki. And in theory, they could sign Machado to play third base and either trade Miguel Andujar or move him to first.

But as of today, Tulowitzki certainly looks capable (likely?) of being the opening day shortstop.

Reading between the lines here a bit, it would seem the Yankees likely gave Tulo a bit more of a guarantee that he could start at shortstop longer than just for the 29 games Russell will be suspended. As you know, my opinion is that the Cubs should cut ties with Russell. Tulowitzki could have been a ready-made replacement.

On the other hand, Martino’s report indicates that if the Yankees do eventually sign Machado, they could simply cut Tulowitzki, since they’re not on the hook for any money at this point (and only the minimum salary once the season begins). Perhaps the Cubs could circle back to Tulo as that “low-cost” option if that happens.

But this article indicates the Cubs were in on Tulo, as were 15 other teams, according to Martino.