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Happy Birthday Jose Reyes, Ezequiel Carrera

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Reyes turns 38 today.

Back in November of 2012, Jose Reyes came to us in the big trade with the Marlins. The exchange saw Reyes. Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck come to Toronto. Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick, Jeff Mathis, and Anthony DeSclafani going to Florida.

It was the first in a series of big moves that ‘won us the off-season.’ By all reports, Reyes was the piece that then-GM Alex Anthopoulos wanted, and then it grew from there.

The trade didn’t work out well for us. Johnson made 16 bad starts and then was injured and never pitched in the majors again. Emilio Bonifacio was terrible offensively and defensively and was traded mid-season. John Buck was flipped to the Mets. Mark Buehrle was the one who stayed around the longest.

Reyes? Well, he was injured a bunch and didn’t quite live up to expectations. He was with the Blue Jays two and a half seasons.

In 2013 he hit .296/.353/.427 with 15 steals in 93 games. Then, unfortunately, he wrecked his ankle on April 12th and missed over two months of the season. When he returned, he seemed to have a little trouble pushing off that foot, which appeared to hurt his defensive range.

2014 wasn’t as good. Jose hit .287/.328/.398 with 30 stolen bases. Defensively, he made many errors, 19, and his range wasn’t what it used to be.

2015 was more of the same, but radio broadcaster Jerry Howarth seemed to make it a personal mission to run him out of town. Reyes had made a couple of errors in the worst possible movements, and Howarth didn’t like that Reyes could be happy on the bench even when the team wasn’t winning.

I could understand Jerry’s grumpiness. The season (to that point) wasn’t going well (after a couple of years that didn’t go as well as we hoped), but it seemed overkill.

Anyway, Reyes was traded with Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman, and Jesus Tinoco for Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins.

That trade and trades for David Price, Mark Lowe, and Ben Revere plus the return of Marcus Stroman from the IL lit a fire under the Jays, and they went 40-18 over the last two months of the season. So maybe Jerry was right, and Reyes was holding back the team. Troy was a little studier on defense. He would go on to have his own injury issues while with the team.

Reyes would finish out 2015 with the Rockies, take out some frustrations on his wife, take a suspension, and get released by the Rockies without playing a game for the team in 2016. He signed with the Mets and played for them from 2016 to 2018.

In Reyes’ 2.5 seasons with the team, he hit .289/.334/.404 with 61 stolen bases in 305 games.

In his 16 year MLB career, he hit .283/.334/.427 with 145 home runs and 517 stolen bases in 1877 games. A pretty nice career.

Happy Birthday, Jose.

Ezequiel Carrera turns 34 today.

Carrera spent the last three years of his seven-year career with the Jays, from 2015 to 2017. He mainly played corner outfield spots.

I’ll admit I wasn’t a huge fan. He hit .273/.321/.372 in 2015, in 91 games in 2015 and .248/.323/.356 in 110 games in 2016.

The saving grace was that he was terrific in the playoffs in 2016, going 2 for 4 in the Wild Card game against the Orioles. Then .333/.429/.583 with a home run in our three-game series win over the Rangers in the ALDS. He didn’t hit much in our ALCS loss to Cleveland, but none of the Jays hit in that series.

Carrera had his best season, with the bat, in 2017, hitting .282/.356/.408, but he still had a -0.1 bWAR because of his defense. If you don’t remember, he took very Gurrielian routes to fly balls without having the great arm to make up for it.

After being released by the Jays after the 2017 season, he signed with the Braves, then Mets, then Dodgers, but never made it back to the majors.

My lasting memory, besides the defense, was his occasion hit on a pitch at head level.

He was a replacement-level player. I said once that if you have to have a replacement-level player, he was likely as good as any. The problem was he played too much. And, for a lefty hitter, he didn’t have much of a platoon split (career .660 OPS against lefties and .698 against right-handers), so he wasn’t a great platoon player. In addition, he didn’t play defense well enough that you’d want him going in as a defensive replacement.

He played seven seasons, hit .262/.324/.365 with 19 home runs and 44 stolen bases in 508 games (332 with the Jays).

Happy Birthday, Ezequiel.