Colorado Rockies

Troy Tulowitzki retires after injuries derailed Hall of Fame path

It was pretty much inevitable at this point, Troy Tulowitzki officially announced his retirement on Thursday.

After missing all of last season with the Toronto Blue Jays following surgery to fix bone spurs in both of his heels, Troy Tulowitzki lasted five games this year with the New York Yankees before being sidelined by a calf strain. He was sent home from rehab in Tampa Bay in early June, then put on the 60-day IL. Since then there has been no news on his progress or lack thereof.

On Thursday, via a statement through the Yankees, Tulowitzki announced his retirement after 14 major league seasons.

Tulowitzki spent the first nine-plus years of his career (2006-2015) with the Colorado Rockies, with five All-Star selections, two Gold Gloves for his work at shortstop and two Silver Sluggers over that span. He also registered in NL MVP voting six times.

During that time with the Rockies, Tulowitzki posted a .299/.371/.513 total slash-line while accounting for 39.3 bWAR. Per 162 games over eight full seasons from 2017-2014, he averaged 31 home runs, 36 doubles and 104 RBI with a total slash-line of .300/.375/.524.

Tulowitzki posted at last 5.3 bWAR six times in those eight full seasons with Colorado, as he finished top-10 in the metric among National League position players five times. But even during that peak, injuries were a thing as Tulowitzki played less than 130 games five times in six seasons from 2010-2015.

Tulowitzki had a solid first full season with the Blue Jays in 2016, with 24 home runs, 79 RBI over 131 games (544 plate appearances) as he registered 3.4 bWAR. But a dismal 66-game run in 2017 (.249/.300/.378 slash-line, seven home runs, 26 RBI) gave way to missing the entire 2018 campaign. The Blue Jays released him last December, fully aware they’d be on the hook for the bulk of his $20 million salary for this year if he signed a deal for the major league minimum somewhere.

A look at Tulowitzki’s Baseball-Reference Similarity Scores show where he was at one point his career and where he wound up. At age 25 and 26, his comp was Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. Even at age 28, his comp was Yogi Berra, and then at age 29-32 his comp was Miguel Tejada. From a Hall of Famer in Banks, who appeared on 83.8 percent of writer’s ballots in 1977, to Tejada, who fell of the ballot this year after only getting 1.2 percent of the vote.

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Tulowitzki’s career will go down as a case of what might have been, as a Hall of Fame track dissolved to a place in the Hall of Very Good as injuries depleted him.

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