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2B: Are A’s Struggling With Hand/Bush Dilemma?

“Is my salary tulo?” Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

You would like everything to fall neatly into place when you’re searching for a job or hiring an employee. If you’re the employer, you would like to be able to offer the job to your best candidate and then if they decline have a chance to offer the position to your second choice, and so on down the line.

In reality, employers and job-seekers both are often confronted with a tricky dilemma of weighing a bird in the hand against two in the bush. Maybe you’re interviewing for jobs and get an offer from your second choice while your first choice is hemming and hawing and will tell you in a week whether or not they plan to make an offer. What to do, what to do?

It was a touch baffling to learn that the A’s haven’t even kicked the tires on the A’s-iest of A’s-y opportunities: the chance to sign Troy Tulowitzki, vocally an A’s fan growing up, demonstrably possessed of All-Star talent and credentials, hinted by his agent as feeling favorable towards “the Bay Area and a team with a chance to win,” and suddenly available for league minimum.

Now perhaps the A’s just believe the 34 year old Tulowitzki, following numerous blows to various parts of his body over an injury-riddled career, has nothing left in the tank to offer. Or maybe they suspect his sudden ‘openness’ to changing positions is a public stance but not a reality. It’s still surprising that Oakland would not jump on the possibility, considering that their blueprint is essentially to try to find players who can give them $10M results on $600K contracts.

Here’s the rub that may have put a wrinkle into an otherwise appealing option. Signing Tulowitzki to play 2B now would mean not exploring other 2B options the rest of the off-season. Unfortunately for Oakland, in this case options are lining up, chronologically, from worst to best.

Let’s say rolling the dice on Tulo feels like the third best way the A’s can solve 2B, behind the younger and far more ‘on the rise’ Jurickson Profar and Jed Lowrie if his market collapses to a more affordable level. The A’s have been linked to Profar, but deals take time to fall into place. Oakland may feel there is a decent chance they can work a trade if they are patient enough to keep 2B open and continue negotiations. The A’s have made it clear that their first choice, Lowrie, likely becomes a possibility only late in the off-season if he is still available — something made moot if Oakland deals for Profar.

So in this finesse game of musical chairs, with a dozen employers and a dozen employees at the job fair, the birds in hands and bushes may have lined up thusly:

Third choice: Tulowitzki, only available if signed now
Second choice: Profar, maybe available in trade soon
First choice: Lowrie, possibly affordable in February

Should the A’s have jumped at this bird in the hand, at the expense of giving up on the chance for better options to fall into their lap later? Or is patience a virtue and good things come to those who wait? It may be that the “Barreto factor” helps the A’s lean towards gambling on patience, because there is a 0% chance Oakland will be left without anyone to man the position — as they were close to being, at catcher, in March, 2018. A lack of desperation creates leverage, even if Barreto is looking like the front office’s fall back plan for 2019, not one of their primary options.

The chance to nab a player of Tulo’s ability and resume, for league minimum, sounds awfully tempting on paper but timing is everything. Tulo will almost certainly not still be looking for a team in February, but if he is and Oakland is still searching for a 2Bman you can imagine the A’s would suddenly kick the tires with vigor. Right now, though, Tulo is just a broken bird in a bush with much fowl still to be extracted.

Let’s hope the A’s lack of enthusiasm today pays off at an upcoming tomorrow. Ignoring him is a type of potential missed opportunity, but evidently the A’s are unwilling to forego other potential opportunities they feel better about. It’s hard to judge until the music finally stops and we see who ends up sitting in the chair.


What do you think is the primary reason for the A’s lack of interest in Tulowitzski?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Ability — they think they can get someone who will perform better
    (139 votes)
  • 47%
    Injuries/Age — they think "he’s done" as a productive player
    (554 votes)
  • 6%
    Position — they think he’s really only keen to play SS
    (73 votes)
  • 34%
    Timing — they aren’t sure enough to commit to him now
    (406 votes)
1172 votes total Vote Now