Five years can feel like a very long time. During the summer of 2014, Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies’ start 29-year-old shortstop, began the year playing the best baseball of his life. On May 6 he was batting .421/.522/.794. A month later he was still batting .359/452/.682. And yet a month after that, on July 6, he was still hitting .350/.442/.605. It was incredible. But it was also short-lived. His season ended on July 19. Tulowitzki’s 5.5 Baseball Reference WAR was the 12th best season for a position player in Rockies’ history, and he did it in just 91 games.
Something else happened that season. The Rockies were bad, and the Tulo trade rumors that began a couple years prior continued unabated, and despite him being injured again. Then, on July 27, a week after he played his final game of what looked like it could be a historic season, Tulo was spotted catching a game at Yankee Stadium:
Troy Tulowitzki at the Yankees game today in an Arrested Development shirt (original was deleted) pic.twitter.com/lBwZNrCseb— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) July 27, 2014
Nobody could fault the man for taking time to watch Derek Jeter play in his final season. Tulowitzki, after all, chose to wear number 2 for the Rockies because of his admiration of Jeter. But this only heightened the trade rumors. It felt like he was making his desires known to the Rockies organization, and those desires included becoming Jeter’s heir.
The Rockies, of course, didn’t trade Tulo to the Yankees. They traded him to the team the Yankees were playing that day he was in the stands, the Toronto Blue Jays. That didn’t work out well for Toronto. He hasn’t played a game since July of 2017, and the Blue Jays cut him loose a few weeks ago.
That created the opportunity for Tulo to go where a lot of people suspected he always wanted to go. On Tuesday the Yankees and Tulowitzki agreed to a league minimum deal (the Blue Jays will pay him the millions still). Assuming he stays healthy enough to actually don a Yankees uniform, Tulo could finally man the same patch of dirt Jeter once did. He won’t, however, be able to wear number 2 anymore.
Tulowitzki was one of the best players the Rockies have ever had, so his comings and goings continue to be of interest, even five years after that shortened, magical season and four years after the trade. I hope Tulo lands on his feet in New York, and I hope he doesn’t pull a muscle in the process.