Blue jays release shortstop Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki’s Toronto Blue Jays career came to an abrupt and unexpected end Tuesday, as the team announced the release of the 34-year-old shortstop.

“Through many conversations with Troy and his representative Paul Cohen, and with consideration to what is in the best interest of both sides, we made the decision to release Troy today,” GM Ross Atkins said.

Tulowitzki, acquired initially with LaTroy Hawkins for Jesus Tinoco, Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman and Jose Reyes in July of 2015, last played in the major leagues in July 2017. He missed the end of the 2017 season with ankle injuries before missing the 2018 season recovering from surgery to remove bone spurs from both heels.

The Blue Jays will be responsible for the full amount remaining on Tulowitzki’s deal. He’s under contract for $20 million in 2019 and $14 million in 2020 with a $4 million buyout for a 2021 club option.

Atkins recently said the Blue Jays weren’t able to plan on a full and productive season from Tulowitzki.

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“Candidly, and I think Troy would agree, that’s not likely,” Atkins said Wednesday. “He will have to overachieve to play shortstop at an above-average level with above-average offensive performance for 140 games. That would be unlikely based on what has occurred in the last two and a half years, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to do it.

“But candidly,” the GM added, “I don’t think that’s likely.”

Tulowitzki, who expects to be healthy in time for spring training, has missed at least 30 games in seven straight seasons and eight of the past nine.

For his career, he has a .290 average, 224 home runs and 779 RBIs.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. projects as the Blue Jays’ regular shortstop with Richard Urena an additional depth option. Meanwhile, top prospect Bo Bichette is advancing through the minors and could reach the big leagues as soon as 2019.

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