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Happy Birthday Marco Scutaro

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics

Marco Scutaro turns 47 today. Many of my favourite Jays have birthdays in October.

We picked up Scutaro in trade from the A’s back in November of 2007. In the post about the trade achnegy said:

I am not surprised at who this trade partner is as it’s again the Oakland A’s, JP Riccardi’s old boss.

Scutaro is a light-hitting SS that many compared to John McDonald. However, Scutaro does have some power, hitting 7 home runs last season but bats a career average of .259. Scutaro is arbitration-eligible and will make somewhere around $2 million. He has a good chance of starting as he is a slight upgrade with the bat at SS. He can give whoever days off as well. They also make a very good platoon option with McDonald hitting well against lefties in 49 games with a .818 OPS and a .329 BA. Over his career (.257/.306.645), he is considerably better against southpaws.

The prospects we gave up never featured in my top 20 prospects. Kristian Bell and Graham Godfrey are two 23-year pitchers in A ball.

Kristian Bell is the type of arm that seems expendable. Bell has struggled with his control and seems a bit too hittable with a career WHIP of 1.43 in A ball.

Godfrey had a 3.98 ERA for Lansing and didn’t light anything on fire in his professional debut. Solid numbers but had a high hit rate and K rate that wasn’t anything special.

Overall another decent move by Riccardi, I would say. Scutaro is a cheap option (I was hoping for a Crosby trade) and is slightly better than McDonald with the stick. The players we gave up were expendable as all had many questions about them and were down in A-ball. The likelihood they make to the show is slim. This is a salary dump for Oakland, and utility players aren’t hard to come by when it comes to minor leaguers anyway.

Kristain Bell never made it to the majors (but was terrific in The Good Place). Godfrey appeared in 10 games over two seasons with the A’s

It was a good trade, but JP oversold it, saying that Marco was our 2008 MVP a year later. I politely disagreed:

JP said Scoot was our team MVP. This should be added to our reasons to fire JP. If you have little understanding of winning baseball, you think a guy whose OP+ is 86 is your MVP, then you have no business running a team. Frig....putting aside that Doc is the team MVP, offensively, who comes in front of him? Hmmmm, Wells, Rios, Overbay, Inglett, Rolen, Lind, Barajas.

Marco hit .267/..341/.356 in 145 games, mostly at shortstop in his first season with the Jays. But while JP may have been wrong about him being MVP, I was wrong about him too.

And if he hits at the top of the order more than a few times next year, well, then you’ll know we haven’t learned anything from this season.

In 2009 he would hit .282/.379/.409, he was great at short and as our leadoff hitter. And he became one of my favourite players.

Marco was a lot of fun to watch. I remember him (when noticing the camera was on him), kissing his bat after a home run.

And there was this:

Jose Bautista pulled off the same trick a few years later.

He only played 2 seasons for the Jays, signing with the Red Sox after the 2009 season. After that, he went to the Rockies and the Giants, picking up a World Series ring (there is a terrific GIF of him standing in the rain after the win):

In all, Marco had a 13-season MLB career, hitting .277/.341/.388 in 1391 games. He had his 2 best seasons with the Jays. He had bWARs of 4.5 and 5.5 with the Jays, with a career bWAR of 22.1.

Happy birthday Marco. I hope it is a good one.

Also, having a birthday today, former Jays pitcher Joe Johnson turns 61.

Joe came in a trade from the Braves, in July of 1986, with Jim Acker going to Atlanta. He had a perfect finish to the 1986 season, 7-2, with a 3.89 in 16 games, 15 starts for us. But, unfortunately, 1987 wasn’t as good. He had a 5.13 ERA in 14 starts before being sent to the minors.

After the season, we lost him in the Rule 5 draft, and he never pitched in the majors again.

Happy birthday Joe.

Joe Panik is 32 today.

Joe was with the Blue Jays in 2020 and the first half of 2021. He played 83 games, hit .235/.318/.325 with 3 home runs.

But the best thing he did for us was to bring us Adam Cimber and Corey Dickerson when we traded Joe to the Marlins. It seemed a significant return for an ageing utility player.

Joe didn’t play in 2022.

Happy Birthday, Joe.