This week a lot of Toronto Blue Jays are going to have a lot of feelings of déjà vu. The schedule gods have seen to that.
First, the Blue Jays go to Kansas City for a 3-game series with the Royals, where the Blue Jays have multiple ties.
On the coaching front, John Gibbons spent time with the Royals as the team’s bench coach. Current hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, in addition to holding that same role with the Royals from 2009-2012, spent six seasons as the third baseman in Kansas City, posting an impressive .294/.380/.394 slash-line there. Even Blue Jays first base coach Tim Leiper spent four years in the Pirates system.
From a player standpoint, there are mixed emotions all around. Melky Cabrera spent one season in Kansas City. completely turning his career around in 2011 when he slashed .305/.339/.470 with the Royals.
Drew Hutchison who will get the start in Wednesdays game made his big league debut at Kauffman Stadium on April 21, 2012. He got the win in his debut, going 5.1 innings, but surrendered 8 hits and 5 runs in the process.
Jose Reyes will be playing in Kansas City for the first time since injuring himself on a bad slide there last April. In that game we all remember well, Reyes jammed his ankle hard going into second base on a slide on April 12th, and would not return to the team until June 26th.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Jays will also bring Chris Getz to town, his is purported to being recalled from Triple-A to replace Ryan Goins, who was optioned last night. I don’t think we need to remind Royals fans of the wonder that is Chris Getz.
From Kansas City, the Blue Jays head on to Pittsburgh to face the Pirates, where nostalgia continues to flow.
The biggest one for me is Jose Bautista returning to Pittsburgh for the first time since being traded to the Jays. The Pirates actually had Bautista in their organization twice, first losing him to the Tampa Bay Rays in the Rule 5 Draft in 2003, and then finally to the Blue Jays in a trade that netter the Pirates Robinzon Diaz in return. In five seasons with the Pirates, Bautista never captured his potential, slashing a middling .221/.329/.403 and hit just 43 home runs in 400 games with the Pirates.
The Pirates may have made the playoffs last year but at least the Jays have Bautista to shove in their faces.
However, the Blue Jays aren’t going to be the only one showing off an ex player. The Pirates are going to show the Jays one of the greatest hitting prospects of all time, the “Lunch Box” himself, Travis Snider.
Even if Snider doesn’t start any of the games in a National League style game you’d think he’d come off the bench at some point.
Back to the coaching front, John Gibbons was fired in 2008 while the Blue Jays were in Pittsburgh, and replaced by Cito Gaston. When Gaston was hired, he brought in Nick Leyva to be his third base coach. Leyva is now holds the same position in Pittsburgh under Clint Hurdle.
There’s going to be lots of nostalgia for the Jays this week. Let’s hope old memories help bring in new wins.