The 2012 season may be done for the Toronto Blue Jays, but that does not mean that Jays fans do not have a vested interest in the postseason. One of the glorious things about baseball is the ability of fans to live vicariously through other teams.
All we need to do is look around at the rosters of those teams lucky enough to still be playing at this point in October, and we will see that the Blue Jays fraternity is well represented. If my math is correct, and I like to believe it is at times, six former Blue Jays playing for four of the remaining playoff teams.
For instance, the St. Louis Cardinals currently employ two former Blue Jays, and in prominent roles at that. Marc Rzepczynski, who Toronto sent to the Cardinals in the deal that brought Colby Rasmus to the Blue Jays, is enjoying the role of the primary left-hander out of the Cardinals bullpen. Rzepczynski, who owns perhaps the most Scrabble-friendly name in baseball, has appeared in 70 games in 2012 for the Cardinals and was called on to face two batters in Friday’s one-game Wild Card playoff against Atlanta.
The other representative on the Cardinal roster is Chris Carpenter, who will start game three for the Cardinals. Most people forget that Carpenter spent the first 5 seasons of his career in Toronto, going just 49-50 with a 4.83 ERA for the Blue Jays before being released in October 2002. He would spend 2003 out of the majors before becoming a part of the St. Louis rotation in 2004 and winning the Cy Young in 2005. Carpenter has pitched in only 3 games in 2012, but the Cardinals were comfortable enough in what they saw of him to put him into the postseason fire.
Another team with two representatives from the Blue Jays is the Cincinnati Reds. Rolen, who had been acquired by Toronto in 2008 in a swap for Troy Glaus, played just over a year and a half for the Blue Jays, hitting .288 with 19 home runs in 203 games. The Blue Jays shipped him off to Cincinnati in a cost-cutting move that brought a package of a players, including someone named Edwin Encarnacion to Toronto. For Rolen, it has been more of the same in Cincinnati. When he’s on the field, he’s an excellent glove and a solid bat. The trick has been just keeping him on the field, where he was for game 1 on Friday night against the Giants.
The other Reds player that many will not remember in Toronto is Miguel Cairo. The utility-man, who has bounced around throughout the years, played his very first season in Toronto, at the spry age of 22. He would appear in just 9 games for the Blue Jays in 1996 before being traded to the Chicago Cubs.
Representing the Washington Nationals is Edwin Jackson. Jackson has had the dubious distinction of pitching for 7 different teams over the course of his 10 major league seasons. However, the Blue Jays were not one of those teams. Still, Jackson has Toronto ties, as he was briefly a member of the Blue Jays on July 27, 2011. He was acquired by Toronto with Mark Teahen in exchange for Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart. The Blue Jays flipped him to St. Louis moments later as part of the aforementioned Colby Rasmus deal. Finishing up a one-year contract in Washington this season, and with Scott Boras as his agent, it is likely the vagabond Jackson will move on again this winter.
The final member of the Blue Jays playoff cadre is Marco Scutaro, who is enjoying a nice season for the San Francisco Giants. Scutaro revitalized his career after spending two seasons with the Blue Jays in 2008 and 2009. During that span, Scutaro would hit a combined .275 with 19 home runs and 120 RBI in 289 games for the Blue Jays. He would move on to Boston in 2010 before heading to Colorado and San Francisco in separate trades. At 36, Scutaro is enjoying his best season of his career, hitting a career high .306 with another career high of 74 RBI. A free agent at the end of the season, perhaps a return engagement with Toronto is not so far fetched.
So like I said, Blue Jays fans still have plenty of reason to be interested. We just have to wear our Blue Jays shirts under a different jersey for the final month.