David Eckstein turns 49 today.
Eckstein had a ten-year MLB career. One of those seasons was with the Blue Jays. Well, 2/3s of one.
After the 2007 season, with the Jays finishing, once again, in third place, J.P. Ricciardi figured the way to make up the 13-game difference between our Jays and the Red Sox was to add ‘proven winner’ Eckstein.
I’m exaggerating some. J.P. also traded Troy Glaus to get Scott Rolen. He also added Rod Barajas and an ageing Shannon Stewart.
Eckstein would give the team that bit of “grittiness” needed. He was a well-liked player. He made a couple of All-Star teams and received MVP votes twice. He finished 11th in 2002, his second MLB season. How he got MVP votes with a 101 OPS+ is anyone’s guess (though he was hit by pitch a league-leading 27 times). I never understand people who decide that a rather average-ish player is a “winner.”
By 2008, his relatively marginal skills had declined. David hit .277/.354/.358 in 76 games as a Jay. Not terrible. But his defensive range vanished (he had yet to play much on artificial turf before that season). FanGraphs has him at a -19.2 UZR/150 at shortstop. I often joke that his hardest hit of the season came when he accidentally elbowed Aaron Hill in the head, putting Hill out for the rest of the season with concussion-like symptoms.
He wasn’t that bad. However, he was miscast as a shortstop and as a leadoff hitter. If he played second and hit ninth, we could have been ok with him.
On August 31st, we traded Eckstein to the Diamondbacks for Chad Beck. He’d finish the season with them and then play two more seasons with the Padres before retiring.
Career, he hit .280/.345/.355 with 35 home runs and 123 steals.
Happy Birthday, David.
Former Blue Jays pitcher Luis Perez turns 39 today.
Perez, a lefty, played parts of three seasons with the Jays from 2011 to 2013. He pitched in 78 games and had a 4.50 ERA. After that, he spent a couple more seasons in the Jays’ minor league system and then played in Japan for two seasons. Then Luis played in the Mexican League for a few more years.
Happy Birthday, Luis.