In baseball, there are always two sides to every trade. Sometimes both teams come out a winner, other times one club might benefit slightly more from the trade, and occasionally neither team will see an improvement.
Then there are some trades where the results are so incredibly lopsided that you wonder if the General Manager was experimenting with mind-altering drugs at the time of signing off on the deal.
As we approach the second anniversary of one of the most lopsided trades in Blue Jays history, for this week’s Acid Flashback Friday we take a look back at the trade that brought Jose Bautista to the Toronto Blue Jays.
After spending the better part of the 2008 season as the starting third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Jose Bautista was sent down to the minor leagues after the Bucs acquired Andy LaRoche in the Jason Bay trade.
Subsequently, Jose spent his final day in a Pirates uniform on August 10th 2008 as he was demoted to the minors to play for the Indianapolis Indians.
Then on August 19th, Jose Bautista’s world changed forever. He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later, who would eventually be catching prospect Robinzon Diaz.
I remember the trade very vividly because the day Bautista was put on the Blue Jays roster, he automatically became the club leader in home runs with 12 dingers. Jose Bautista also entered the hotly contested race for the “Best Soulpatch” on the Blue Jays.
At the time, Scott Rolen was on the disabled list so Jose Bautista stepped in for the next few weeks as the everyday third baseman. Down the stretch, Bautista played all over the diamond: five games at first base, two games at second base, and eight games at third base.
Looking back, it appears the trade to get Jose Bautista was just a stop-gap move by J.P. Ricciardi to fill the hole at the hot corner while Scott Rolen was on the disabled list. I don’t even think anyone could have imagined the gem of a player he unearthed in that trade.
When I try to find a player with a similar career path to Jose Bautista, I automatically think of Carlos Pena. Both are from the Dominican Republic and bounced around multiple organizations before hitting their stride in their late twenties.
I don’t know what ever compelled Neal Huntington and the Pittsburgh Pirates to trade Jose Bautista, but us Blue Jays fans are thankful every day that they chose to do it.
By the way, be sure to send my regards to Robinzon Diaz … who’s now playing for the Detroit Tigers Triple A affiliate.