Flashback Friday: The Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Jose Bautista to the Blue Jays

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.


Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

6 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: The Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Jose Bautista to the Blue Jays

  • August 20, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    oh how I remember the pissing and moaning about how we were giving up a good prospect to get Bautista!

    Mind you, I didn't think JB was great shakes but I was mystified so many people thought Diaz was a big loss.

  • August 20, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Southpaw, I remember how folks were very curious as to who the PTBNL was. With Thigpen waiting in the wings, I wasn't too concerned when I hear it was Diaz who was being shipped off.

  • August 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I read somewhere, that it was AA not JP that pushed for dealing for Bautista, can't find the link though.

  • August 21, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Anon, interesting find – if you can get the link, let me know.

  • August 24, 2010 at 2:54 am

    I'm a long-suffering Pirates fan. I'm that much closer to puking to death.

  • August 24, 2010 at 4:26 am

    Anon, I feel your pain – the Blue Jays let Chris Carpenter walk as a free agent, so I guess it all evens out.

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