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Happy Birthday Troy Tulowitzki and Lourdes Gurriel

Toronto Blue Jays v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Troy Tulowitzki turns 37 today.

You’ll remember, we traded for Tulo back at the trade deadline in 2015. Jose Reyes had fallen out of favour (he says putting it as nicely as he can), and the Jays worked out a big trade to get rid of him.

It worked out well at the time. We made the playoffs that year and the next. And none of the prospects Colorado has turned into a good player (though Miguel Castro looked much better this past season).

The 2017 and 2018 didn’t go as well. Troy was injured most of the time, missed all of 2018.

As a Jay, he hit .250/.313/.414 in 238 games, good numbers if he played good defence. And if we weren’t paying $20 million a season for it.

We released him on December 11, 2018. and he was signed by the Yankees a month later. When he hit a spring training home run off Marcus Stroman, my Twitter was full of people wondering how we could have released him. I suggested they wait. He played 5 games for the Yankees, went on the IL, and when he was healthy again, the Yankees told him to stay home. He announced his retirement soon after.

I think his time in Toronto would have gone a lot better if it wasn’t for the terrible ankle injury he suffered trying to beat out a ground ball when he stepped on the side of C.J. Cron’s foot on the bag on July 28 2017. It was one of the most painful-looking injuries I’ve ever seen on the baseball field. Between that and bone spurs, the rest of 2017 and all of 2018.

He played ten seasons for the Rockies. Hit .299/.371/.513 with 188 home runs in 1048 games. I was at the games in Denver when he played there for the first time after the Jays trade. I enjoyed seeing the love the fans in Denver had for him.

He could have made it into the baseball Hall of Fame if he had a couple more decent, injury-free seasons.

Watching him make a throw on the run, well, it was a thing of beauty.

Happy Birthday, Troy. I hope it is a good one.

It is Lourdes Gurriel Jr’s 28th birthday.

In November of 2016, we signed Lourdes to a 7-year, $22 million contract as a free agent coming out of Cuba. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a great 2017 season, hitting .229/.268/.339 in 64 games, split between Dunedin and New Hampshire. I don’t know how much of that you can put off on homesickness.

2018 went better. Lourdes hit .301/.330/.466 in 51 games split between New Hampshire and Buffalo.

He got a call up on April 20, played in 20 games before being sent back down in the second week of May. He hit .206/.229/.309, with 2 home runs. He came back up for a game in June. Then up for good in July. He had a great run in July, hitting .423/.438/.648 with 4 home runs in 17 games. He had a streak of 11 multi-hit games before hurting his knee, trying to avoid a tag and missed three weeks.

He missed about half of 2019 with injuries. When he did play, he hit .277/.327/.541 with 20 home runs in 84 games. At that rate, if he could have played the entire season, he could have been close to 40 home runs. In the 2020 season, he played in 57 games, hitting .308/.348/.534 with 11 home runs.

This past year, well, he had a poor first half and a great second half. After four seasons, he has a .282/.324/.492 line, with 63 home runs in 347 games.

His defence in left has improved over this past season. He has a great arm and has been improving on going back on the ball.

Happy Birthday, Lourdes.

There are a couple of former Jays with birthdays:

Francisco Cabrera turns 55 today. We signed Francisco as an amateur free agent back in 1985. He made it to the Jays in 1989, played 7 games, hit .167/.231/.250. And he was traded to the Braves in August with Tony Castillo for Jim Acker. Cabrera played 193 games over five seasons with the Braves, hitting .257/.296/.460. He played in the 1992 World Series against us, getting a good view of the Blue Jays’ first World Series win.

He, famously, had the game-winning hit in the 1992 NLCS against the Pirates. In the 9th inning of game 7, he hit a 2-run single, scoring David Justice and Sid Bream. It was one of those great playoff moments.

Don Gordon turns 61.

Don was a right-handed pitcher. He made 19 relief appearances in 1986 and 87, with a 6.06 ERA. He was traded to Cleveland with Darryl Landrum for old knuckleball pitcher Phil Niekro. Niekro was 48 at the time. He made three starts for us and then was released.

Happy birthday Francisco and Don.