Today in Blue Jays history:
J.P. Ricciardi signed A.J. Burnett to a 5 year, $55 million contract, that included a opt-out clause. Burnett would team with Roy Halladay to make for a very good one-two punch at the top of our rotation, for 3 seasons. Burnett went 38-26 with the Jays, with a 3.94 ERA in 81 games, 80 starts. After the 2008 season, Burnett choose to opt out of his Blue Jays contract and signed with the Yankees for 5 years and $82.5 million. Much to our pleasure, AJ wasn't the same pitcher for the Yankees as he was with the Jays. He would be traded to the Pirates after the 2011 season and he remembered how to pitch.
I really don't blame AJ for going where there was more money. And I don't blame Ricciardi for giving him the opt-out clause in the contract. JP (the general manager) was spending money, trying to build a winning team. He had signed BJ Ryan and would trade for Lyle Overbay. The Jays did manage a second place finish in 2006, but that would be as close as we'd get, until 2015.
The Jays traded Shaun Marcum to the Brewers for Brett Lawrie. The thread announcing the trade was pretty balanced between those that thought it was a good trade and those that thought it was a terrible trade, but it was pretty unanimous that we would miss Marcum. He was a favorite around here.
Shaun would go 20-11 with a 3.91 ERA in 54 starts. He missed much of the 2012 season with shoulder and elbow 'stiffness'. He didn't exactly help the Brewers in the playoffs, going 0-3 with a 14.90 ERA in 3 starts. Before the 2013 season, he signed as a free agent with the Mets, going 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA with them. He was out of 2014, then pitched in 7 games in 2015 with the Indians, with a 5.40 ERA. And that’s where his career ended.
Lawrie....well you know. He missed more time than we would have liked with a multitude of injuries and we traded him to the A's (with some prospects) for Josh Donaldson. With that, I think it's fair to say we won the trade.
Brett played 1 season in Oakland, hitting .260/.310/.407 win 149 games. After the season he was traded to the White Sox, where he hit .248/.310/.413 in 94 games. Last year he was out of baseball. I don’t know if anyone will be willing to give him a contract this year.
The Jays traded prospect Nestor Molina to the White Sox for Sergio Santos. The poll on the our trade post was overwhelmingly positive...86% thought it was a good trade. As it turned out? Nestor bounced around the minors a bunch, and pitched in Mexico. And Santos....you know. Hurt a bunch. Ineffective much of the time, Was really good in the few innings he pitched in 2013, awful in his few innings in 2014. In 2015 he pitched a handful of innings for the White Sox and Yankees and was out of organized baseball this past season.
JP Arencibia signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent, 1-year, $1.8 million. At the time, many of us would have liked the Jays to have signed him to the same contract. It didn't go well for the Rangers. JP was terrible, then was sent to the minors, and was called up again, this time to play first base. In all, JP hit .177/.239/.369 for the Rangers, with 10 home runs and (because JP will tell you that this is the way to judge a player) 35 RBI. Of course, 1 of the home runs (and 3 of the RBI) came against the Blue Jays. In 2015 played a few games with the Rays, hitting .310/.315/.606 in 71 at bats. 2016, he went to spring training with the Phillies, was released and signed with the Rays again, but didn't appear in the majors.
Since then, he got married, jousted a bit with Gregg Zaun and spoke about anxiety issues. And he’s been mentioned as a possible replacement for Zaun. He seems reasonably articulate. Might be worth giving him a try out.