The Toronto Blue Jays announced today that Jose Bautista will be added to the Level of Excellence in the Rogers Centre during a ceremony on August 12, 2023. Bautista, who played for the Toronto Blue Jays from 2008 to 2017 was originally acquired in a late season trade in August which sent COTF Robinzon Diaz to the Pirates. Bautista started at third for the Jays but quickly ended up in right field.
Bautista’s 2008-2009 seasons were largely forgettable, save for a sudden power surge in September of 2009 which convinced then Manager Cito Gaston to make him a full time starter in 2010. He suddenly emerged as one of the most feared sluggers in the game, clubbing 54 home runs to set a season record for the Jays. He was a key piece in the Jays competitive years and hit what is one of the most iconic home runs in Jays history.
Baseball Reference credits Jose with a WAR of 37.0 in his Blue Jays career. Diaz played 44 games in the majors. It’s safe to say the Jays won that trade handily.
Bautista will join Paul Beeston, George Bell, Joe Carter, Tom Cheek, Carlos Delgado, Tony Fernandez, Cito Gaston, Pat Gillick, Roy Halladay and Dave Stieb as a member of the Level of Excellence during a pre-game ceremony.