There are five former Blue Jays who have birthdays today.
First, Matthew Boyd turns 32 today.
Boyd was a left-handed pitching prospect for the Jays. On our 2015 Top 40 Prospect list, we had him at #15. He was a lefty who didn’t throw all that hard but mixed in a breaking ball and a change.
In 2015 he made a couple of spot starts for us. They didn’t go well. He gave up 4 runs in 6.2 innings against the Rangers on June 27. Then July 2, he gave up 7 earned without getting an out against the Red Sox.
On July 30, Alex traded him, Daniel Norris, and Jairo Labourt to the Tigers for David Price. Since then, Boyd is 37-60 with a 4.87 ERA in 159 games, 145 starts with Detroit.
Matthew’s injury troubles in 2021 limited him to 15 starts (good ones, 3.89 ERA). Before the 2022 season, he signed with the Giants but never pitched for them and was traded to the Mariners in August. He made 10 relief appearances for them (and one in the ALDS).
He is back with the Tigers now after signing with them in December. Hopefully, he’s healthy again.
Paul Kilgus turns 61 today.
Kilgus was a lefty pitcher who had been with the Rangers before the Cubs, putting up a 14-22 record and a 4.15 ERA in 57 games, 44 starts.
He was part of a big 9-player trade, bringing him over to the Cubs. The Cubs also got lefty relievers Steve Wilson, Mitch Williams, and infielder Curt Wilkerson. Jamie Moyer, Drew Hall, and a young first baseman named Rafael Palmeiro went to Texas. Palmeiro would go on to hit 569 homers in his career.
I remember thinking Kilgus could be a good fifth starter for us. Unfortunately, Kilgus had an injury-filled season, and they banished him to Baltimore after the season. He’d have a season with the Cardinals and then was out of baseball.
Dale Murray turns 73 today.
He played two seasons for the Jays, putting up a 2.92 ERA in 67 games, and had 11 saves in 1981 and 1982.
After the 1982 season, he was part of one of the best trades in Blue Jays’ history. He and Tom Dodd would go to the Yankees for Dave Collins, Fred McGriff, and Mike Morgan (and cash). McGriff would become one of the Jays’ all-time best players (and now, finally, a Hall of Famer). And then he was part of the trade that brought us Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter. Teams have been overpaying for relievers for a long time. Without the Murray trade, it is hard to see our path to the World Series.
Murray would spend two seasons, plus three games of a third, with the Yankees. He had a 4.73 ERA in 62 games, with 1 save. After the Yankees, he played one game for the Rangers and was out of baseball.
Murray played in the majors for 12 seasons with six teams, Expos, Reds, Mets, Expos again, Jays, Yankees, and Rangers. He had a 3.95 ERA in 518 games, just 1 start and 60 saves.
Travis Snider turns 35 today.
You know the story. Travis was our top prospect for many years. Baseball Prospectus had him as the 5th best prospect in baseball in 2009, 7th best in 2008, and 40th best in 2007.
He would go on to play parts of 5 seasons with the Jays. In 242 games, he hit .248/.306/.429 with 31 homers.
In 2012 he was traded to the Pirates for reliever Brad Lincoln. He played three seasons for the Pirates. Then they sent him to the Orioles. Then went back to the Pirates. Since then, he’s been in the Royals, Rangers, Mets, Diamondbacks, Marlins and Braves systems.
In 8 major league seasons, he has a .244/.311/.395 line with 54 homers in 630 games.
I think of him the same way I think of Dalton Pompey. The team thought or knew something about them that we didn’t. They did or didn’t do something that the team didn’t like. Neither got an extended chance with the team, while other players got several opportunities. Somewhere there is an alternate universe with Snider and Pompey playing the outfield for us.
Pat Tabler turns 65 today.
Tabler had a 12-year MLB career. He played 1202 games and hit .282/.345/.379 in 1202 games. Unfortunately, I thought he was overrated as a player. He had a 3.1 bWAR total in those 12 years and didn’t have the power you would like from a first baseman/left fielder.
His last two seasons were with the Blue Jays, 1991 and 1992, so he owns a World Series ring thanks to his time with us. In those two seasons, he hit .231/.313/.278 in 131 games, primarily playing first base. Naturally, those aren’t the numbers you want to see from a first baseman.
We all know his claim to fame is his batting line with bases loaded. In 109 PA, he hit .489/.505/.693 with 2 home runs and 108 RBI. He was good with RISP, too, .317/.388/.432.
Pat won’t be back in the broadcast booth this year. I wasn’t his biggest fan, but he did have his moments. I liked him talking about how a rookie getting his first hit would keep the ball forever, and Dan asked him about the ball from his hit (this was when Pat was doing the games from home). Pat went and got his ball and showed it to us.
Happy birthday Matt, Paul, Dale, Travis, and Pat. I hope you all have a great day.