Tulowitzki expects big things next season from himself and the Blue Jays

Tulowitzki expects big things next season from himself and the Blue Jays

Troy Tulowitzki made a couple of points perfectly clear on Sunday morning: He fully expects to be back next year playing shortstop for the Blue Jays and he expects this team to compete in 2019.

“I don’t believe in rebuilds, honestly,” said Tulowitzki, who also confirmed that he won’t play this season. “I’ve been with a lot of really good teams, I’ve been with teams that weren’t so good. And you look around the league, there are some good examples of teams that are pretty young that win games. So I don’t really believe in that. I do believe in coming back next year and whoever my teammates are, you can win with young players. Baseball’s a game of momentum, you get hot, such as we did the year myself and (David) Price and some other guys mixed in. When I came over, we were a game under .500.

“We had some momentum, we had some confidence and we had the belief that the team could win,” Tulowitzki added of Toronto’s playoff run in 2015. “That’s what needs to be brought back, not necessarily we need to go sign every free agent … we need the belief and we need that fight to win and that’s definitely going to be a challenge for me, being a veteran player on the team. But you can’t do that when you’re not playing. Next year when I am playing I’ll have the ability to hopefully do that and make guys accountable for what they do and try to get them better on a daily basis and hopefully get them to believe that you can win games with, honestly, anybody on the field. It really doesn’t matter.”

In this Thursday, April 6, 2017, file photo, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki gets Tampa Bay Rays’ Evan Longoria out at second and relays the throw to first in time to turn a double play on Brad Miller during the fourth inning of a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Chris O’Meara /


Tulowitzki’s assertion that he’s the kind of player who keeps his teammates accountable and gives them the belief that they can win may sound a trifle boastful, but it’s a point Jays manager John Gibbons has made from the very first day Tulowitzki arrived. The manager always says that even if Tulowitzki had lost a step and may not always hit, what he brings to the middle infield is invaluable. With that in mind, Tulowitzki said he will not entertain the idea of switching positions.

“I’m of the Cal Ripkin mould,” he said. “Positioning is very important. My experience out there I think proves that you don’t have to be the quickest guy. It’s about reads, it’s about knowing the game, it’s about baseball smarts, it’s about angles, there’s a lot more that goes into playing shortstop than people think. I believe in my ability. I believe in the homework I do so. And guess what? My heels aren’t going to be hurting either (next season) and I played with my heels bothering me the last couple of years. I might even be better suited for the position as I get older. I’ve studied that position for a long time and have done it for a long time which gives me a huge advantage.”

Tulowitzki had “big” bone spurs removed from both feet earlier in the year and called this season “very tough to say the least.” But he’s optimistic about his future and expects to be totally healthy for spring training. As for the young players who have filled in for him while he was on the DL – young players that the Jays are trying to develop in the hopes of bright future – Tulowitzki said while he’s impressed, he’s certainly not going to roll over and hand his job to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. or Bo Bichette.

“I would love for it to be a competition (at shortstop), because that makes our team better,” he said. “I’ve always said from day one when I stepped into the big leagues … I welcome competition. You don’t get to this point without competing. If there’s someone that’s better than me, I’ll be the first to say it. I look around the big leagues, I try to be the best shortstop in the game. There’s been plenty of years when I’ve been the best shortstop in the game, there’s times when I’ve been the worst shortstop and if we had anybody that was worth anything, they should have took my job. That’s the nature of the business.

“(But) like I said, I’m a shortstop. If someone’s better than me, I’ll pack my bags and go home. (But) I do think I bring a lot more than what you guys see out there too,” Tulowitzki added. “There’s stuff behind the scenes that goes on, there’s things I try to help teammates with. I think I do bring a veteran leadership. Those things shouldn’t go unnoticed. ”

Tulowitzki said doubters and naysayers will only fuel his fire.

“I’m honestly excited for what’s ahead,” he said.


Twitter @Beezersun

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