Today in Blue Jays history:
Wow, 16 years ago.
J.P. Ricciardi signed A.J. Burnett to a five-year, $55 million contract, including an opt-out clause. Burnett would team with Roy Halladay to make an excellent one-two punch at the top of our rotation for three seasons. Burnett went 38-26 with the Jays, with a 3.94 ERA in 81 games, 80 starts. After the 2008 season, Burnett opted out of his Blue Jays contract and signed with the Yankees for five years and $82.5 million. Much to our pleasure, AJ wasn’t the same pitcher for the Yankees as he was with the Jays. The Yankees traded him to the Pirates after the 2011 season. There he remembered how to pitch.
One of my favourite Burnett memories was his start against Doc when he played for the Yankees. It was a fun game.
I don’t blame AJ for going where there was more money. And I don’t blame Ricciardi for giving him the opt-out clause in the contract. JP (the general manager) was spending money to build a winning team. He had signed BJ Ryan and would trade for Lyle Overbay. The Jays did manage a second-place finish in 2006, but that would be as close as we’d come until 2015.
11 years ago.
The Jays traded Shaun Marcum to the Brewers for Brett Lawrie. The thread announcing the trade was pretty balanced between those that thought it was a good trade and those that thought it was a terrible trade, but it was pretty unanimous that we would miss Marcum. He was a favourite around here.
As a Brewer, Shaun would go 20-11 with a 3.91 ERA in 54 starts. He missed much of the 2012 season with shoulder and elbow ‘stiffness’. Marcum didn’t exactly help the Brewers in the playoffs, going 0-3 with a 14.90 ERA in 3 starts. Before the 2013 season, he signed as a free agent with the Mets, going 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA with them. He was out of 2014, then pitched in 7 games in 2015 with Cleveland, with a 5.40 ERA. And that’s where his career ended.
Lawrie....well, you know. He missed more time than we would have liked with a multitude of injuries, and we traded him to the A’s (with some prospects) for Josh Donaldson. So I think it’s fair to say we won the trade with that.
Brett played 1 season in Oakland, hitting .260/.310/.407 win 149 games. AFTER THE SEASON, the A’s traded him to the White Sox, where he hit .248/.310/.413 in 94 games. Then, the Brewers signed and released him without playing a game. You’d think his baseball career is over, but with Lawrie, who knows.
The Jays traded prospect Nestor Molina to the White Sox for Sergio Santos. The poll in our trade post was overwhelmingly positive: 86% thought it was a good trade. As it turned out? Nestor bounced around the minors a bunch and pitched in Mexico. And Santos was hurt a bunch and ineffective much of the time. He was good in the few innings he pitched in 2013 and awful in his few innings in 2014. In 2015 he threw a handful of innings for the White Sox and Yankees.
JP Arencibia signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent, 1-year, $1.8 million. At the time, many of us would have liked the Jays to have signed him to the same contract. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well for the Rangers. First, JP was terrible, then sent to the minors, and they called him again to play first base. In all, JP hit .177/.239/.369 for the Rangers, with 10 home runs and 35 RBI. Of course, one of the home runs (and 3 of the RBI) came against the Blue Jays. In 2015 played a few games with the Rays, hitting .310/.315/.606 in 71 at-bats. 2016, he went to spring training as a Philly, was released. He signed with the Rays again but didn’t appear in the majors.
Since then, he got married and divorced (his ex-wife, Kim Perry, from The Band Perry, wrote a song about him. It isn’t complimentary), jousted a bit with Gregg Zaun, and spoke about anxiety issues. And now he’s working in broadcasting and seems good at it. He is engaged to Tomi Lahren.