Toronto Maple Leafs: Former players still being paid by Toronto teams

Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Blue Jays
Troy Tulowitzki of the Toronto Blue Jays (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays have only one player whose salary they have been forced to retain, but oh, it’s a doozie. Troy Tulowitzki was brought in during the Blue Jays’ frenetic push for the playoffs in 2015.

The longtime Colorado Rockie struggled in Toronto’s opening series against the Texas Rangers. However, he swung one of the hotter bats in the lineup against the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS, hitting .304 and driving in seven runs over the course of the series.

Tulowitzki’s form carried over into his first full season with the club, as he coupled his consistent defence with a resurgence of pop not seen since his days in Denver. Lurking in the middle of the order, the shortstop was integral to the Blue Jays’ sweep of the Rangers in the 2016 ALDS, hitting an eye-popping .462 and driving in five over the series’ three games.

However, as 2017 represented the conclusion of the Jose Bautista era in Toronto, it also marked the end of Tulowitzki’s time (at least on the field) in blue and white. While hustling down the line to try and beat out a ground ball against the Los Angeles Angels, Tulowitzki stepped on the plant foot of Halos’ first baseman C.J. Cron. Tulowitzki’s foot then slid off the base, and a part of one’s foot that should never touch the ground made contact with the Rogers Centre dirt.

Upon examination, bone spurs were discovered in Tulowitzki’s right heel. He would miss the entire 2018 season, and was granted his release on December 11 that year, with three seasons remaining on his contract.

Tulowitzki wasn’t done with the sport however, and wanted to prove to his former employers that he could still play. Ever in the market for a wily vet, the New York Yankees offered him a job.

Tulowitzki was owed $20 million for the 2019 season. According to Baseball Reference, the Blue Jays paid $19.45 million for the two-time playoff contributor to suit up in the pinstripes of their division rival.

Unfortunately for Tulowitzki however, he would not be suited up for long. Five games into his Yankee tenure, a calf injury landed him back on the IL.

Tulowitzki officially retired on July 25, 2019. He will collect a cheque from the Blue Jays for $14 million this season, and an additional $4 million in 2021.