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Today in Blue Jays History: 10 years ago, Jays Trade for Jose Bautista

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

I had intended to put this up earlier today, but I was out most of the day.

Ten years ago today, the Blue Jays traded Robinzon Diaz to the Pirates for Jose Bautista. It was such a big deal that we here at Bluebird Banter didn’t even do a post on the trade. We did talk about it later, but the day of the trade went by without a mention of the deal.

The news did get into a post I did a couple of days later:

And Robinzon Diaz has been sent to Pittsburgh to complete the Bautista deal. So I guess we can take his name off our top 11 prospect list. I’m not sure what I think of that. Diaz didn’t have the best of years and likely saw AJ Arencibia pass him by. But I thought he was closer to being Major League ready and we’ll need someone next season to catch, or we’ll have a heck of a lot of passed balls.

Missed on that one.

And a day later, I put up a poll on the trade. 48% thought it was a good trade for us, 52% didn’t. Noticeably, I thought he was ‘a middle infielder type’ at the time.

A few days later I linked to a FanGraphs story “Pirates Plunder Toronto” and said this:

Another story I thought I’d pass on is from Fangraphs, Pirates Plunder Toronto. Now I don’t really like the trade but to say the Jays got ‘plundered’ is over stating things a lot. I like Diaz but I don’t think he’ll become a great major league player. I think in the long run it will end of up a nothing for nothing trade. But we’ll see.

Wrong again.

It took him a few days to get his first hit as a Blue Jay.

And it took a year or so, before we realized that he should be more than a platoon player.

Anyway, I think we can pretty safely say that it was a good trade for the Jays. Baseball Reference credits Jose with a WAR of 37.0 in his Blue Jays career. Diaz played 44 games in the majors.

Jose was one of my favorite players to watch. He’s intense, he really wants to win, he seems to be great with his teammates. He seems to spend a lot of time giving tips and help to his teammates. Sometimes I wish he’d have a little more fun, but then he same ones that think he’s too intense, would complain just as much if he was smiling and happy.

He had more than his share of people complaining about him. I think that’s just part of the price for being the best player on a team that tends to disappoint. For some reason people blame losing on the best players. When I was a kid, I watched people blame Gary Carter for the Expos coming up short. I always wondered why people don’t blame the crappy players.

I think that getting Jose was a turning point in the franchise. We went from a team with no personality to a team that had some swagger. And we had a player that fans of other teams hated. As Reggie Jackson said ‘people don’t boo nobodies’.

I really can’t imagine (and don’t want to imagine) want the last 10 years would have been like if we hadn’t traded for Jose. I’m sure they wouldn’t have been as interesting.

Jose on the Blue Jays career leader boards:

Career bWAR position players: 2nd (37.0).

Offensive bWAR: 2nd (36.6).

On base percentage: 7th (.372) minimum 1500 PA.

Slugging average: 5nd (.506 behind Carlos Delgado (.556)).

OPS: 4th (.875).

Game Played: 5th (1235).

Home runs: 2nd (288, 48 short of Delgado).

RBI: 3rd (766).

Walks: 2nd (803, 24 behind Delgado).