It was five years ago today, on December 27th, 2005, that the Toronto Blue Jays shipped Gold Glove second baseman and fan favorite Orlando Hudson, along with Miguel Batista to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Troy Glaus and Sergio Santos.
The Jays got two full seasons of Troy Glaus. He came as advertised in his 2006 season, where he earned an All-Star appearance for his .252/.355/.513 line, along with his 38 HR, 104 RBI, 86 walks, and 134 strikeouts.
The next season, however, Glaus was hampered by foot injuries all year which caused his production to drop significantly. Jays fans started getting used to his griping about playing on turf, as well as seeing his tantrums after he struck out. He appeared in only 115 games in 2007, where he managed to club 20 home runs and drive in 62 runs, good for a .262/.366/.473 slash line. At the end of the year on December 13th, 2007, Glaus’ name emerged on the infamous Mitchell Report, but no disciplinary action was taken against him. One month later, the Jays shipped out Glaus out in a straight-up, one-for-one deal with the St. Louis Cardinals for Scott Rolen on January 14th, 2008.
Jays fans were treated to 203 games of Scott Rolen between parts of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, where he demonstrated his magical defensive ability at the hot corner. He made a difference with his bat, too, where he managed a combined .288/.358/.451 slash line to go along with 19 HR, 93 RBI, 91 BB and 14 HBP between his two seasons with the Blue Jays. Rolen was eventually traded to the Cincinnati Reds at the 2009 trade deadline for third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and pitchers Zach Stewart and Josh Roenicke.
Rolen had expressed a desire to be closer to home, as well as a desire to play off of the Rogers Centre’s turf field. He never complained during the whole process, and was no doubt a great player to watch in a Jays uniform.
The trade with the Reds was also one of J.P. Ricciardi’s best during his tenure as GM (which really does not say much), as all three pieces the Jays got back in return remain with the club today. Encarnacion filled in adequately at third base and was brought back not too long ago as a 1B/DH, Roenicke has had ups and downs in the bullpen but is a viable hard-throwing depth option, and Zach Stewart excelled at Double-A New Hampshire this past season and enters Spring Training as the front-runner for the #5 spot in the Blue Jays’ 2011 starting rotation.
As for Sergio Santos, the other piece the Jays got in return in the trade with the Diamondbacks, he played parts of three seasons at SS and 3B with the Jays’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, and never did anything spectacular. Oddly enough, he was converted into a relief pitcher after signing with the Chicago White Sox in 2009, and posted a 2.96 ERA in 51.2 innings for them in 2010.
The Diamondbacks got three unbelievable seasons from Orlando Hudson. From 2006-2008, posted batting averages of .287, .294, and .305, along with .809, .817, and .817 OPS, respectively. He hit 33 home runs, drove in 171 runs, and drew 171 walks in his three seasons in Arizona, while adding 91 doubles and 21 triples for good measure. He captured the National League Gold Glove for second base in 2006 and 2007, and was also named an All-Star during the 2007 season.
Hudson had his 2008 season cut short after he broke his wrist trying to catch a wild throw from Diamondbacks pitcher Juan Cruz. Arizona decided against bringing Hudson back for the 2009 season and he departed via free agency, ultimately signing a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Batista, used as a starter and reliever by the Blue Jays during his time in Toronto, played only the 2006 season in Arizona. He made 33 starts, which included three complete games, one of which was a shutout.
Overall, he finished the season with a record of 11-8 and a 4.58, along with 110 strikeouts and 14 wild pitches in 206.1 innings in the desert. At the end of the 2006 season, he too departed for free agency and ultimately signed a three-year deal with the Seattle Mariners.
Overall, the trade was one of J.P. Ricciardi’s most criticized moves as General Manager of the Blue Jays, and he justified it by saying:
"“He’s the big bopper we were looking for. We never in our wildest dreams thought we’d get two bats and two pitchers.”"
The two pitchers and other bat he was referring to were A.J. Burnett (5-year/$55M deal), B.J. Ryan (5-year/$47M deal), and Lyle Overbay (via trade with Milwaukee for Dave Bush and Gabe Gross). We all know how those three players turned out in Toronto.
At the time of the trade, it was a tough pill to swallow, especially with the kind of seasons Hudson was having in Arizona. As time went on though, it seems the Blue Jays won the deal because they are still reaping benefits from it. Arizona had both of their pieces of the trade depart via free agency.
Troy Glaus, who spent two full seasons in Toronto, was able to be flipped for a productive, entertaining season and a half of Scott Rolen, who ultimately netted the Jays three pieces that will all likely make appearances in 2011 (even though Encarnacion was signed as a free-agent this month after the Jays released him).
The real “X” factor of this deal will be seeing how Zach Stewart does next season, and whether or not he wins a full-time starting job with the Blue Jays out of Spring Training.