Two Years Ago Today
The Jays made three trades. Two went very well. One not so well.
Robbie Ray came over from the Diamondbacks for Travis Bergen. Bergen pitched 6.2 innings for the Diamondbacks at the end of last season, and then we got him back at the end of February for cash. He pitched in 10 games for the Jays. After the season, he was a free agent, signed with the Padres, and was released earlier this month.
Ray pitched in 5 games down the stretch in 2020.
In 2021, working with Pete Walker, he was the best pitcher in the AL.
His place among AL pitchers in 2021:
- bWAR 1st, 5.9
- ERA 1st, 2.84
- Strikeouts 1st, 248
- Innings pitched 1st, 193.1
- Quality starts 1st, 23
And he won the Cy Young Award.
I think we can count that trade as a win.
After the season, he signed a five-year $115 million contract with the Mariners. When the Mariners came to Toronto earlier this season, Ray wasn’t with them, being placed on the restricted list. So there may have been a reason he didn’t sign back with the Jays.
The same day Ross Stripling came from the Dodgers for Kendall William and Ryan Noda.
Williams is in A-ball. He has a 5.47 ERA, with 92 strikeouts and 46 walks in 100.1 innings.
Noda is in Triple-A and has a .265/393/476 in 115 games. He’s 26 now. Williams may put it all together and become a major league starter at some point. Noda? Years ago, he might have had a career as a pinch hitter. Now? I don’t know. Maybe he’ll get a chance at some point.
Stripling has been fantastic for us this year. A 2.94 ERA in 26 games, 18 starts. It is hard to imagine that the Jays would be in the Wild Card race without him.
And, still the same day, we picked up Jonathan Villar from the Marlins for Griffin Conine.
Villar hit .188/.278/.203 in 22 games.
Conine is in Double-A, hitting .216/.330/.430 in 103 games. He’s 25 now and seems a long shot to get an MLB career, but I’d still rather have him than Villar.
4 Years Ago
We traded Josh Donaldson.
It was all a mess. Josh was injured. He hadn’t played since May 28th (and he wouldn’t play until September 11th for Cleveland).
The rush to trade him was hard to understand. I know the front office must have decided that they wouldn’t sign him over the winter and likely didn’t want the PR problems of not offering a former MVP a contract. Add in that they wanted to get something back for him (of course, whether we got something back for him is yet to be determined). But, it wasn’t done well.
I don’t know if there was a good way to do it.
As it turned out, it would have been better to trade him before the season. But the team hoped that he could have a good year, that Tulo could play, that the pitching (led by Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada, and Aaron Sanchez) would be the team’s strength and, well, a half a dozen other things would turn outright. Almost nothing good happened.
When Josh finally could play. He was excellent in September’s 16th games (.280/.400/.520 with 3 homers). However, he had a tough time in the playoffs getting just 1 hit in Cleveland’s 3-and-out series against the Astros.
In 2019 he had a terrific year with the Braves. Then he had two decent seasons with the Twins. And now he is a Sith Lord, hitting .222/.309/.381 in 107 games.
13 Years Ago
The Jays won a wild game over the Rangers.
Adam Lind had a huge game, going 3 for 5 with 2 home runs, including a grand slam and 8 RBI.
After 5 innings, we were up 11-0, and the game appeared to be over.
We scored 5 runs in the first. The big hit was a Rod Barajas 3-run homer. We scored 1 more in the third, 4 in the fourth (Lind’s grand slam), and 1 more in the fifth.
All seemed good. Brett Cecil had thrown 4 shutout innings. Then came the fifth. Cecil gave up 7 runs.
Why would a manager leave his starter out there to give up 7 runs? Well, because it was the fifth inning, and Cito wanted Cecil to get the win. In my view, Brett was clearly tiring. He also took a hard grounder off the thigh that inning, which likely added to his troubles in the inning.
There are old school managers, and then there are managers who went to the school that burned down before they built the old school. But that’s an aside.
In that fifth inning Cecil:
- Gave up 3 straight singles to start the inning.
- Then, after a ground out, Ian Kinsler hit a triple, which made it 11-3.
- After a fly-out, 2 more singles (one from Josh Hamilton) set up a 3-run Nelson Cruz home run, and it was suddenly 11-7. Thankfully that’s where the bleeding stopped.
Then the bullpen got into the game:
- In the sixth, Casey Janssen came in and gave up 2 more runs. Jesse Carlson (a favourite of mine) got the last out of the inning. 11-9.
- Carlson gave up 2 singles in the seventh, coming out of the game with runners on the corners and 1 out.
- Scott Downs followed, and a sac fly made it an 11-10 game. Things weren’t looking good. But Downs shut things down
Then, in the top of the ninth, we scored 7 runs to make it a blowout again.
The inning started with Lind’s second homer, followed by doubles from Kevin Millar and Vernon Wells. Then, after Randy Ruiz and Rod Barajas made outs, the inning went: Walk (Jose Bautista), single (John McDonald), walk (Marco Scutaro), walk (Aarron Hill), and 3-run double (Adam Lind).
The game ended 18-10.
Lind drove in 8 runs (and only had a .126 WPA). Rod Barajas hit 2 homers.
And Brett Cecil got the win, so all’s well that ends well.
|Marco Scutaro SS||3||3||1||0||2||1||6||.292||.389||.427||.817||0.038||CS,HBP|
|Aaron Hill 2B||5||3||2||2||1||1||6||.286||.324||.498||.822||0.102||2B|
|Adam Lind LF||5||3||3||8||1||0||6||.303||.365||.554||.919||0.129||2·HR,2B|
|Lyle Overbay 1B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.271||.384||.473||.857|
|Kevin Millar 1B||5||0||1||0||0||0||5||.229||.308||.376||.684||0.005||2B|
|Travis Snider PR-LF||1||1||0||0||0||1||1||.226||.307||.401||.709||0.000|
|Vernon Wells CF||5||2||2||2||0||1||5||.254||.307||.402||.709||0.049||3B,2B|
|Randy Ruiz DH||2||1||0||0||2||1||5||.288||.382||.508||.891||-0.003||CS,HBP|
|Rod Barajas C||4||2||2||5||0||1||5||.244||.275||.430||.705||0.158||2·HR,SF|
|Jose Bautista RF||4||1||0||0||1||1||5||.225||.354||.313||.667||-0.019|
|John McDonald 3B||5||2||3||1||0||1||5||.273||.284||.379||.662||-0.006|
|Brett Cecil, W (6-3)||5||9||7||7||0||3||1||5.42||85||0.011|
|Jesse Carlson, H (9)||0.2||3||1||1||0||0||0||4.88||21||-0.129|
|Scott Downs, H (5)||1.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.00||19||0.229|