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Today in Blue Jays history: George Bell wins MVP

Martin signs with Jays, Davis and Scutaro come in trades.

Toronto Blue Jays v California Angels Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images

Seven Years Ago:

The Blue Jays sign Russell Martin to a 5-year, $82 million contract. I was on holiday at the time, but I remember being surprised that we spent that much money. It seemed out of character for the team.

Martin played four seasons with the Jays, hitting .225/.336/.399 with 66 home runs.

We traded him to the Dodgers for Ronny Brito (he played for Vancouver this year) and Andrew Sopko (last played in 2019).

At the time, we were pretty happy with the signing:

Ten Year Ago:

With the unveiling of the new Blue Jay uniform, Minor Leaguer took a look at the franchise history of uniforms and logos. Part two came along the next day.

Also, ten years ago, Marc Hulet suggested Casey JanssenCould Be the Key Man in the 2012 Bullpen’. It turns out he was right.

Eleven Years Ago:

The Jays traded for Rajai Davis, sending Trystan Magnuson and Daniel Farquhar to Oakland. Both Magnuson and Farquhar had made it back into the Jays system Farquhar in a trade for David Purcey (Farquhar would pitch 2 innings for us in 2011). In all Farquhar pitched in 3.93 MLB games, for the Mariners, Rays and White Sox and had 18 saves Magnuson was traded back for cash, but he didn’t make it back to the majors. He had a total of 14.2 MLB innings.

Rajai played 3 seasons with the Jays. He hit .252/.299/.369 with 15 home runs and 125 stolen bases (7th on our all-time list), before leaving us as a free agent. In total, he had a 14-year career, played in 1448 games, hitting .262/.311/.379 with 415 steals. Definitely not a great player, but he was fun to watch on the bases. Baseball is entertainment and he was entertaining.

We kind of liked the trade at the time.

Thirteen Years Ago:

Hugo and some guy with the unusual name of Rincewind talk about the problem spots that Jays needed to fix before the 2009 season.

Also ten years ago, Hugo talked about who the Jays should pick up to fill the shortstop position. J.J. Hardy would have been a heck of a pickup. I mostly point it out for the headline, possibly the longest headline in BBB history (there were almost as many words in the title as in the post).

Fourteen Years Ago:

Eleven years ago tomorrow, but close enough, J.P. Ricciardi traded Kristian Bell (gone to the Good Place?) and Graham Godfrey to the A’s for Marco Scutaro. It wasn’t a trade that excited anyone, but it turned out to be a good one. We grew to love Scutaro.

Thirty Four Years Ago:

Long before Bluebird Banter, back in 1987, George Bell became the first Blue Jay to win the AL MVP award for his .308/.352/.605 seasons, with 47 home runs and a league-leading 134 RBI. Bell had finished 19th, 8th, and 4th in the voting the 3 previous years and would finish 4th in 1989. And 20th in 1992 with the White Sox.

He likely wouldn’t win the award with today’s voters. He finished 10th among AL hitters with a 5.0 bWAR. Even if you take just offensive bWAR, Bell was still 10th in the AL. Wade Boggs had an 8.3 bWAR and Alan Trammell an 8.2. Boggs hit .363/.461/.588 with 24 home runs and 105 walks. Trammell .343/.402/.551 with 28 home runs, playing good defense at short.

But Bell had all those RBI.

Bell wasn’t so terrible defensively at that point in his career. Later in his career, his knees would pay the price for playing on the carpet-covered cement in Skydome, and his defense would suffer from it, but that was later.