MLB Free Agency Rumors, Updates: Blue Jays Cut Troy Tulowitzki, Where Will Shortstop Sign?

Troy Tulowitzki
Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a double in the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics during MLB game action at Rogers Centre on July 27, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays announced the release of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, effectively making him a free agent on Tuesday during the second day of the MLB Winter Meetings.

"ROSTER MOVE: We've released SS Troy Tulowitzki, making him a free agent," the Blue Jays shared on their official Twitter account.

ROSTER MOVE: We've released SS Troy Tulowitzki, making him a free agent.

— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) December 11, 2018

Tulowitzki has been limited due to injuries in recent years, which included having surgery to remove bone spurs from both heels in early April, forcing him to miss the entire 2018 season.

The 34-year-old last MLB appearance came in July 28, 2017, when he experienced ligament damage that required surgery after stepping on another player's foot while running the bases. Tulowitzki has been selected to five All-Star games and was a two-time Gold Glove Award winner.

The veteran shortstop expects to be healthy in time for spring training, but has missed at least 30 games during seven consecutive seasons and eight of the past nine.

The decision to release Tulowitzki took place one day after Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins met with his representatives during the first day of the MLB Winter Meetings. Toronto will need to pay the $34 million remaining on the shortstop's contract, as well as an additional $4 million buyout for 2021.

Atkins recently said Tulowitzki would have to "overachieve" in order to reclaim the everyday starting role and play shortstop at an "above-average level," which made his release less surprising.

The general manager also revealed that Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was the Blue Jays' starting shortstop and Richard Urena was expected to be used as the team's utility infielder, eliminating a role for Tulowitzki.

Tulowitzki spent the majority of his career with the Colorado Rockies, where he found his most success. He was traded to Toronto along with reliever LaTroy Hawkins in exchange for Jose Reyes and three prospects prior to the 2015 non-waiver Trade Deadline, a move that was made by former GM Alex Anthopoulous prior to Atkins' hiring.

Tulowitzki hit for a .299 average, 188 home runs and 657 RBI during 10 seasons in Colorado. However, his tenure with the Blue Jays was far less productive.

During his time in Toronto, Tulowitzki finished with a .250/.313/.414 slash line in just 238 appearance during three and a half seasons. However, the veteran provided clutch performances during the 2015 postseason, including a key home run in the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers and seven RBI during the AL Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals.