Seven years ago today: The Blue Jays DFAed Edwin Encarnacion.
First, time flies, has it really been seven years?
On June 21, 2010 Edwin was hitting .200/.298/.467. Just a month earlier he had hit 3 home runs in a game against the Diamondbacks. The team had talked about sending him down to the minors, but they wanted a spot on the 40-man roster for Scott Richmond, who was coming off the 60-day DL.
Could you imagine, we could have lost Edwin because we wanted Richmond on the roster? And that’s not on the active roster....Scott had finished his rehab time and they wanted to place him back on the 40-man. They thought there was more chance Richmond would have been taken on waivers than Edwin.
Richmond wouldn’t pitch for the Blue Jays that season. He got 1 out in 2011 and pitched 3 innings in 2012 and was out of baseball.
We were less than pleased. Alex Anthopoulos had a press conference, later that day, and he explained the team was ‘confident’ Edwin would clear waivers. And he did. Alex also gave up updates on Dustin McGowan’s health. Dustin would pitch a bit for us in 2011 and then more in 2013 and 2014.
Edwin went down to Dunedin and then Las Vegas (where we had our Triple A team at the time. He played 10 minor league games, and then was called back to the Jays on July 3. By the end of July he had brought his BA up from .200 to .240.
He finished the season with a .244/.305/.482 batting line, 21 home runs and 51 RBI. He soon became the Edwin Encarnacion that we would come to love. There were Edwin haters at the time. If you go thru the comments on the Alex press conference post, you can see people calling Edwin lazy, which, for me is the silliest complaint about baseball players.
The story that gets told is that he found his swing in the minors. I’m not sure if that’s true, I think getting him off third base and letting him concentrate on his hitting helped. Guys with power like Edwin’s sometimes take a bit to find it.
After the season, the Jays would again DFA him and the A’s took him on waivers but then released him a month later and we signed him as a free agent.
It was a long and winding road that Edwin took to become a star with the Jays.
Also....today is former Jays pitcher Jeff Musselman’s 54 birthday.
Jeff was a 6th round pick from the 1985 draft out of Harvard. I don't think there has been a player out of Harvard that has made the majors since. A lefty, he got into a couple of games in for the Jays 1986, he made the team out of spring training in 1987. We had a pretty good team that year, finishing 96-66, good for 2nd place. Jeff was 12-5 (the best winning percentage in the AL), with 3 saves and a 4.15 ERA out of our pen.
Surgery for a muscle tear suffered at the end of the 1987 season, kept him out of the lineup until the middle of the 1988 season. The Jays used him as a starter for the rest of that year. In 15 starts, he was 8-5 with a 3.18 ERA.
At the trade deadline of the 1989 season Musselman was traded to the Mets for Mookie Wilson. He played with the Mets for a couple of seasons, not all that successfully. Mookie turned out to be a bit of a spark plug for the Jays, helping us to win the division.
He became a player agent after his playing career ended.
Happy Birthday Jeff, I hope it is a good one.