The Blue Jays announced Wednesday that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Nick Tepesch and cleared space on the 40-man roster by moving Troy Tulowitzki to the 60-day disabled list. Left-hander Matt Dermody was optioned to Triple-A to clear a spot on the active roster.
As Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith points out (via Twitter), Tulo’s initial DL placement came on July 29, so this move makes it extremely unlikely that the shortstop will return to the field in 2017. He’ll technically be eligible to return on Sept. 27, though there will be little in the way of incentive for the Jays to push Tulowitzki by that point.
Whether Tulo returns for the season’s final week or not, 2017 has been a severely disappointing campaign for the five-time All-Star. A strained hamstring cost him more than a month earlier this year, and ligament damage in his right ankle will now cost him at least two months. In the 66 games that he’s been healthy enough to take the field, Tulowitzki has slashed a sub-par .249/.300/.378 with seven homers through 266 plate appearances.
Getting Tulowitzki back to full health in 2018 will be imperative for the Jays, as he’s still owed $20MM in both 2018 and 2019 before earning $14MM in 2020 (plus a $4MM buyout on a 2021 club option). All indications are that despite lackluster results in 2017, the Jays’ aim is to contend in 2018, and a healthy Tulowitzki would go a long way toward that end. While Tulo hasn’t played at his former superstar level since 2013-14, he nonetheless played a well-above-average shortstop and swatted 24 homers in 2016, generating roughly three wins above replacement in the process.
As for Tepesch, the 28-year-old will make his Blue Jays debut as tonight’s starter. Toronto acquired the former Rangers hurler from the Twins in exchange for cash earlier this year, and he’s posted a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings with seven strikeouts against one walk for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo. Tepesch held a fairly regular spot in the Texas rotation in 2013-14 but has seen only sparse big league action since. All told, he has a 4.69 ERA with 5.5 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 in 224 2/3 big league innings.