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Happy Birthday Troy Tulowitzki and Lourdes Gurriel

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Troy Tulowitzki turns 38 today.

You’ll remember we traded for Tulo back at the trade deadline in 2015. Jose Reyes had fallen out of favour (or I could be honest and say that Jerry Howarth ran him out of town), 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 has done a lot better the last two years).

The 2017 and 2018 didn’t go as well. Troy was injured most of the time and missed all of 2018. The Jays were paying Troy a lot of money not to play.

As a Jay, he hit .250/.313/.414 in 238 games, good numbers if he still 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, (I think Marcus went easy on him) 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. Funny I didn’t hear back from my Twitter friends after that.

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.

He played for ten seasons for the Rockies, hitting .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, that was a thing of beauty.

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

It is Lourdes Gurriel Jr’s 29th birthday.

In November of 2016, we signed Lourdes to a 7-year, $22 million contract as a free agent out of Cuba (he is eligible for arbitration after this season). 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, and 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 57 games, hitting .308/.348/.534 with 11 home runs.

In the shortened 2020 season, he hit 308//348/.534 in 57 games with 11 home runs.

2021, Lourdes got into a career-high 141 games, hitting .276/.319/.466 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI, both career highs.

This past year his power disappeared. He only had 5 home runs after 21 last year. But he was still getting on base at a decent rate.

His defence in left has improved over the years. He’s been getting better at going back on the ball. Although he didn’t get to show off his arm as much this year, I think teams have figured out not to run on him.

Lourdes seems to start each season slowly but improves as it goes on. If he could get off to a good start, one of these years, he could be a star. He seems like a great teammate.

Happy Birthday, Lourdes.

There are a couple of former Jays with birthdays:

Francisco Cabrera turns 56 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.

The Jays traded Framcoscp 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 63.

Don was a right-handed pitcher. He made 19 relief appearances in 1986 and 87, with a 6.06 ERA and then 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. The Braves picked him up again, had him start one game and then he retired. None of his 318 career wins came with the Jays.

Don would play two seasons with Cleveland. He had a total of 78 relief appearances in the majors with a 4.72 ERA.

Happy birthday Francisco and Don.