The New York Yankees have obtained a low-cost infield replacement, agreeing to a one-year contract with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for the major league minimum $555,000, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the agreement, first reported by ESPN, is subject to a successful physical.
Tulowitzki idolized retired Yankees captain Derek Jeter and has worn No. 2 in his honor. A five-time all-star who turned 34 in October, Tulowitzki has not played in the major leagues since July 2017 and was released by the Toronto Blue Jays last month. He was limited to 66 games in 2017 because of a hamstring and right ankle injury. The ankle required surgery last spring and he missed the entire season.
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Oct. 17 and is not expected to return until summer. New York also has been talking with Manny Machado, one of the top available free agents. Tulowitzki could slot in at shortstop, allowing Gleyber Torres to remain at second base and Miguel Andujar to stay at third.
Tulowitzki was taken by Colorado with the seventh overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft, became a star with the Rockies and agreed after the 2010 season to a $157.75-million, 10-year contract that added $132 million over seven seasons. Colorado dealt him in July 2015 to Toronto in a deal that brought shortstop Jose Reyes to the Rockies.
Tulowitzki helped the Blue Jays reach that year’s AL Championship Series, but he slumped the next year and then was derailed by injuries.
Tulowitzki is owed $20 million for next year, $14 million for 2020 and a $4-million buyout of a 2021 team option. Toronto would pay all but the big-league minimum in the Yankees deal, which would be offset against his 2018 salary.
Toronto will be paying Tulowitzki for many years: $5 million of his 2019 salary is deferred at 3% interest and is payable in 10 equal installments each Jan. 1 from 2025-34. In addition, the buyout is due in $2-million installments on July 1 in 2021 and 2022.