The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of 11 teams interested in a former All-Star shortstop. Here is an update on the potential move.
The most popular rumor surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason has been their interest in adding a shortstop. The first rumor was that the Bucs called the Arizona Diamondbacks in regards to 2018 Gold Glove winner Nick Ahmed. Then this past weekend it was reported that the team had interest in free agent shortstop Freddy Galvis. The most recent rumor, and most talked about one, has been the emergence of potentially adding Troy Tulowitzki.
Tulo, of course, was let go by the Toronto Blue Jays last week and it was immediately connected that the Pittsburgh Pirates would have interest. It makes sense as the team needs a shortstop and Tulowitzki will not earn any more than the league minimum due to him still getting paid by the Toronto Blue Jays. So obviously with the need and cheap salary, it would be a very good fit for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates were one of 11 teams to attend Tulowitzki’s showcase.
Meanwhile, for Tulowitzki, the Pittsburgh Pirates would make a lot of sense. First off, they can offer him a chance to play as an everyday shortstop, not a lot of teams can offer that at this point. This will allow him to prove he is healthy and potentially rebuild his value for the future. Second, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning season last year with a very young core. The team could be potentially better next season and adding Tulo could make them a legitimate playoff contender, something that should interest Tulo. The last reason is that the veteran shortstop played for a lot of years under Clint Hurdle.
The last reason is of focus here. Tulowitzki had some of his best season playing for Clint Hurdle. The sense of familiarity between the two could allow Tulo to flourish once again. However, there is speculation floating around that Hurdle and Tulowitzki did not always get along in Colorado. Apparently, Tulo was frustrated that Hurdle benched him for doing things that other players were doing, such as swinging at the first pitch (a report from 2009).
While this likely happened, does this describe their relationship? Not according to Jon Heyman of FanCred. Heyman believes the Pittsburgh Pirates are one of the top favorites to sign Tulowitzki. Why? He spoke about Hurdle’s relationship with Tulo in his most recent notes:
"The Pirates could have a decent shot at Troy Tulowitzki, as they could offer him a chance to start at his preferred shortstop. Manager Clint Hurdle loves Tulo from their days together in Colorado. Of course they were at his showcase."
What many need to remember is that not everything is perfect. It is very likely that if you walked into the Pittsburgh Pirates clubhouse and asked players off the record if they have ever not seen eye-to-eye with Hurdle, they probably could recall a few instances. It is only natural that people will have disagreements at one point or another, especially when talking about high profile players and their managers.
Other than that, Heyman’s notes are not all that revealing. He does not say anything in terms of how interested the Pittsburgh Pirates are or how interested Tulo might be in the Bucs. Still, he mentions that Hurdle “loves” Tulo. This could factor into a potential deal if Hurdle pushes hard to recruit Tulo to be a part of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019.