The Philadelphia Phillies will welcome free-agent Manny Machado to Citizens Bank Park Thursday as they hope to convince the four-time All-Star shortstop/third baseman to don red pinstripes. However, the organization reportedly was represented at the workout of another accomplished shortstop Tuesday, one they would likely want to move to third base at this stage of his career.
According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, over a third of the league’s teams watched recently-released five-time All-Star Troy Tulowitzki work out Tuesday. The Phillies were one:
The Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates and others came for a look at Tulo. General manager types Billy Eppler (Angels) and Farhan Zaidi (Giants) attended, as did Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who hitched a ride from San Diego with Tigers special assistant Alan Trammell.
It’s not immediately clear who from the Phillies organization attended the workout. General manager Matt Klentak and manager Gabe Kapler were not there, because they were busy introducing free-agent signing Andrew McCutchen at Citizens Bank Park Tuesday afternoon.
Tulowitzki, 34, owns the third-highest fielding percentage at shortstop (.985) in baseball history. Per Brown, he only worked out at shortstop. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be amendable to playing another infield position (likely third base in the case of the Phillies), but he’s extremely accomplished at shortstop, so it’s not surprising that he would appear to prefer to stay at the position he’s played his entire career.
At the same time, Tulowitzki missed the entire 2018 season after having surgery to remove bone spurs on each of his heels. Though he once appeared to be on-track to be a slam-dunk Hall of Famer, Tulowitzki’s extensive injury history has overshadowed how productive he’s been when he’s been on the field. Only three times in the last five years has Tulowitzki been able to play over 100 games. Even if he looks good in a workout playing at shortstop, it’s fair to wonder if he wouldn’t be better suited playing a less stressful position.
Despite those injuries, “Tulo” has a .290 career batting average with a higher WAR7 than Jimmy Rollins, Miguel Tejada, Hanley Ramirez and Rafael Furcal. Given the sheer number of teams interested in his workout, it’s fair to guess that he’ll get a major league contract. Whether the Phillies have serious interest in Tulowitzki or were just doing due-diligence in keeping tabs on him – the organization did watch Tim Lincecum work out back in February, so they have a history of doing that – remains to be seen.
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