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Blast from the past: Blue Jays sign Robinzon Diaz to minor league deal

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a winter of reuniting with the past for the Blue Jays. They traded for ex-Jay Jesse Chavez. They signed J.A. Happ after trading him 12 months earlier. And they re-signed a number of free agents: Marco Estrada, Darwin Barney, Maicer Izturis, Josh Thole.

And now we have another homecoming, as Baseball America's most recent Minor League Transactions this morning reported that the Jays had signed catcher Robinzon Diaz (to a minor league deal), apparently back on February 26th though it's just now showing up on the official team transactions.

Yes, that Robinzon Diaz:

rdiaz

Diaz was the player to be named later in a minor August 2008 trade that the world little noted nor figured to long remember, but changed the course of the rebuilding process under Alex Anthopoulos as Jose Bautista became a franchise cornerstone around which to build. 243 home runs later, and Bautista  is on the cusp of passing Carlos Delgado and Tony Fernandez on the franchise leaderboard for position player WAR.

Though his place in baseball history will be inextricably linked to being the guy who got Jose Bautista, Diaz is notorious to many Blue Jay fans from his prospect days. Signed as 17 year old in November 2000, in the mid-2000s Diaz was considered the Catcher of the Future, one in a long line of aspirants bestowed with the title who ultimately failed to seize the crown.

Now he returns to the Jays in the twilight of his career, most likely to help catch all the pitchers in Spring Training and to serve as veteran catching depth in the high minors. He's spent the last three years with Milwaukee, mostly spread across AA and AAA.