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Today in Blue Jays History: Donaldson Trade

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Now that they have changed the rule about making trades after August 1st, we won’t get these fun trades at midnight on August 31st. It is kind of sad.

11 years ago

In 2008 we traded David Eckstein to the Diamondbacks for Chad Beck.

We signed Eckstein before the 2008 season, with the idea that he would be the veteran leadership the team needed and play short/bat leadoff. He had played in the playoffs in four seasons and was World Series MVP in 2006. The term scrappy came up a lot.

As the season went on we found he didn’t really have the arm for short and he didn’t hit well enough to leadoff. We spent most of the season looking for a leadoff man. I remember joking that the hardest contact he made all season was when he and Aaron Hill collided chasing a ball. Hill would miss most of the season with a concussion.

Really he wasn’t that bad for us, he hit .277/.354/.358 in 76 games as a Jay.

For the Diamondbacks, he played 18 games, hit .219/.301/.313. He didn’t lead them to the playoffs, they finished in second, just 2 games back of the Dodgers.

Eckstein played 2 more seasons for the Padres.

10 years ago

The Jays won a wild game over the Rangers.

After 5 innings we were up 11-0 and the game appeared to be over.

We scored 5 runs in the first, the big hit was a Rod Barajas 3-run homer. We scored 1 more in the third, 4 in the fourth (an Adam Lind grand slam) and 1 more in the fifth.

All seemed good. Brett Cecil had thrown 4 shutout innings. Then came the fifth. Cecil gave up 7 runs.

Now why would a manager leave his starter out there to give up 7 runs? Well, because it was the fifth inning and Cito wanted Cecil to get the win. In that fifth Cecil:

  • Gave up 3 straight singles to start the inning.
  • After a ground out, Ian Kinsler hit a triple and it was 11-3.
  • After a fly out, 2 more singles (one from Josh Hamilton) set up a 3-run Nelson Cruz home run and it was suddenly 11-7. Thankfully that’s where the bleeding stopped.

Then the bullpen got into the game:

  • In the sixth Casey Janssen came in and gave up 2 more runs. Jesse Carlson (a favorite of mine) got the last out of the inning. 11-9.
  • Carlson gave up 2 singles in the seventh, coming out of the game with runners on the corners and 1 out.
  • Scott Downs followed and a sac fly made it an 11-10 game and it looked bad. But Downs shut things down for the inning and for the eighth.

From my recap:

Brett Cecil pitched 4 very good innings then gave up 7 runs in the 5th. He was clearly tired. Cito wanted him to get through the 5th so he could get the win but it darn near cost us the game. He was hit in the thigh with a ground ball in the middle of it all. I’m sure he has a great bruise. 2 batters later he gave up a grand slam but after that he got a strikeout to end the inning. He has pitched more innings than ever before in a season, he is clearly tired. I would have much rather Cito pull him when he was tired. A win is nice but a young man pitching tired is an invite for an injury.

In the top of the ninth we scored 7 runs to make it a blow out again. It finished 18-10.

The inning started with doubles from Kevin Millar and Vernon Wells. After Randy Ruiz and Rod Barajas made outs the inning went: Walk (Jose Bautista), single (John McDonald), walk (Marco Scutaro), walk (Aarron Hill) and 3-run double (Adam Lind).

Lind drove in 8 runs (and only had a .126 WPA). Rod Barajas hit 2 homers.

From the recap:

Marco Scutaro, Aaron Hill and Lind scored 3 runs each. We had 14 hits and 7 walks. John McDonald even had 3 hits. You know life is good when Johnny Mac gets 3 hits. Vernon Well had a double and a triple. He also almost pulled a Alex Rios, with 1 out in the 9th he ran off 2nd base on a fly ball, apparently thinking there were already 2 outs. Thankfully he got back in time. If he hadn’t got back we wouldn’t have scored our last 5 runs.

Randy Ruiz walked 2 times and was caught stealing once. He was a hit and run and Jose Bautista missed the ball. Why you would call a hit and run with Bautista up I have no idea. Bautista isn’t exactly a bat control guy. Scoot also walked twice and was thrown out stealing once. And Hill walked with the bases loaded, which, we think, might be the first time this year we got a bases loaded walk.

Cito rarely used the hit and run, and when he did, it didn’t seem the right moment.

It wild game.

1 year ago

We traded Josh Donaldson.

It was all a mess. Josh had been injured. He hadn’t played since May 28th (and he wouldn’t play until September 11th for Cleveland).

The rush to trade him was hard to understand. I know front office must have decided that they weren’t going to sign him over the winter and likely didn’t want the PR problems of not offering a former MVP a contract. Add in that they wanted to get something back for him (of course, whether we actually got something back for him is yet to be determined. But, it wasn’t done well.

Being fair, I don’t know that there was a way for it to be done well. As it turned out, it would have been better to trade him before the season. But the team hoped that he could have a good year, that Tulo could play, that the pitching (led by Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada and Aaron Sanchez) would be the strength of the team and, well, a half a dozen other things would turn out right. Almost nothing good happened.

When he finally could play. he was excellent in 16 September games (.280/.400/.520 with 3 homers). He had a tough time in the playoffs getting just 1 hit in Cleveland’s 3 and out against the Astros.

This year he has been terrific for the Braves. He’s hitting .258/.378/.525 with 32 home runs. He’s going to be in the playoffs for the 7th time (he’s been in the playoffs every year since 2012 except for 2017).