Apr 3, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Emilio Bonifacio (1) bobbles a groundball in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
…from what I understand, a player named PTBNL.
What kind of guy is PTBNL? Well, he probably breathes air, eats food, drinks water, and is, in some way shape or form, a current member of the Kansas City Royals organization. A baseball player or cash is about all that can be guaranteed at this time. Such is the reality of trading for a player-to-be-named-later.
In return for the wholly disappointing and soon-to-be arbitration eligible Emilio Bonifacio, the Blue Jays got a fair return. Hitting .218, getting on-base at a .258 clip, and poor defense do not justify the kind of return that would contribute to a turn-around 2014 season. We got a guy, and that’s about all we could’ve expected.
Or is it? A history of players-to-be-named-later show that the Blue Jays could strike gold:
- Gregg Zaun went on to win a World Series with the Florida Marlins after being acquired as a PTBNL from the Baltimore Orioles in 1996. (They probably just named him later because management couldn’t settle on whether the extra ‘g’ attached to his name was a typo or not).
- Craig Wilson, with a career .262 BA and .353 OBP, was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Blue Jays in 1996 as a PTBNL (one of three total PTBNL in the deal).
- Slow as molasses former Blue Jays pitcher Jason Frasor was acquired as a PTBNL at one point in his career, moving from the Detroit Tigers to the L.A. Dodgers in 2002. In 2004, he was traded to the Blue Jays for Jayson Werth, who is himself a NIWP (now incredibly wealthy player).
- Marco Scu-Scu-Scutaro (Phil Collins, anyone?) was a PTBNL at one point in his career before he joined the Blue Jays in 2007. Moving from the Cleveland Indians to the Milwaukee Brewers in August 2000, Marco Scutaro even starred in a 2005 documentary called ‘A Player To Be Named Later’, chronicling some of his time spent in the minors.
- John Gibbons’ former sparring partner Ted Lilly was once a PTBNL in a deal with the New York Yankees for Hideki Irabu following a 1999 trade with the Montreal Expos.
- Scott Downs enjoyed a brief stint in Minnesota after being exchanged as the PTBNL in a trade with the Chicago Cubs in November 1998.
- John McDonald was the PTBNL in a trade for…himself! In July 2005, J-Mac went from the Blue Jays to the Detroit Tigers before being re-acquired by the Jays in November of the same year, presumably due to a lack of ‘blue collar-hustle hard’ players to act as fan favourites at the time.
Other notable PTBNL include:
- David Ortiz – 43.5 Career WAR
- Moises Alou – 39.7 Career WAR
- Jason Schmidt – 31.7 Career WAR
- Coco Crisp – 26.0 Career WAR
- Gio Gonzalez – 14.3 Career WAR
- Miguel Olivo – 8.1 Career WAR
- Scott Podsednik – 6.9 Career WAR
Who knows what could happen to the Blue Jays! Perhaps a year of bad fortunes will translate to some kind of PTBNL luck. I’m looking at you, vacant hole at second base and behind the plate.