With the Blue Jays entering a rebuild, many familiar faces have departed Toronto. Here’s a look at former Blue Jays players playing on new teams.
Edwin Encarnacion (Seattle Mariners)
30 AB, .300/.447/.500, 2 HR
It’s been a long time since Blue Jays fans saw Edwin Encarnacion and his ‘Edwing’ home run celebration. Since leaving Toronto, Encarnacion has played with the Indians and now, the Mariners. Entering his age 36 season, the former All-Star’s contact rate has steadily dropped and he’s no longer one of the league’s most fearsome sluggers. That being said, Encarnacion still topped 30 home runs last year and he figures to be a pivotal bat in the heart of the Mariner’s lineup in 2019.
Josh Donaldson (Atlanta Braves)
30 AB, .167/.306/.200, 0 HR
The Blue Jays-Josh Donaldson breakup left much to be desired. Donaldson was unceremoniously traded to the Cleveland Indians for MiLB arm Julian Merryweather after struggling to return from a string of injuries in 2018. Now playing for the Braves, the 2015 AL MVP must show doubters that he’s not finished yet. He’s off to a slow start, but hopefully the “Bringer of Rain” can remind MLB of his MVP-caliber talent.
Russell Martin (Los Angeles Dodgers)
12 AB, .417/.556/.750, 1 HR
When the Blue Jays traded Russell Martin to the Dodgers, it signaled that the front office wanted to give Danny Jansen the full time catching job. Though the Blue Jays had to give up an egregious amount of money to complete the trade, Martin’s overall contract wasn’t equally abhorrent.
In his four years with the Blue Jays, Martin produced a very respectable 11.1 fWAR. Considering that 1.0 WAR is worth something in between $7-10 million today, the Blue Jays seemed to have gotten fair value out of Martin’s 5 year/$82 million contract. Now primarily the backup catcher for the Dodgers, it seems like Martin is enjoying his return to LA.
Kevin Pillar (San Francisco Giants)
2-for-16, 2 singles, 1 SB
Following the trade of Kevin Pillar to the Giants, many Blue Jays fans expressed their disappointment and even disgust at the front office. However, many Blue Jays fans seem to overrate Kevin Pillar – the “Superman” for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Though he was a valuable player and had a pivotal role during the 2015/2016 seasons, Kevin Pillar was never the amazing player that fans made him out to be. He never had a season with an wRC+ over 100 (league average) and his defensive decline was masked by occasional highlight-worthy plays. It was time for the Blue Jays to open up playing time in the outfield for guys like Anthony Alford, Teoscar Hernandez, Billy McKinney, and potentially even Dalton Pompey later down the road. Plus, it seems like Pillar is enjoying his time with his new team, perhaps far more than his time in Toronto.
J.A. Happ (New York Yankees)
0-1, 8.1 IP, 6.48 ERA, 1.56 WHIP
J.A. Happ was one of the most dependable starters during his time with the Blue Jays. His consistency earned him a 2 year/$34 million contract with the Blue Jays’ division rivals, the New York Yankees. Happ is now entering his age 36 season and there are no real concerning signs for immediate decline. As long as Happ continues to use his effective fastball-slider-changeup combination to keep striking out batters at a healthy clip, expect him to keep being a strong mid-rotation starter for the Yankees.
Other Former Blue Jays
Curtis Granderson (Miami Marlins) – 21 AB, .238/.393/.571, 2 HR
Steve Pearce (Boston Red Sox) – 1-for-7, 0 HR
Seung-Hwan Oh (Colorado Rockies) – 3.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP
Roberto Osuna (Houston Astros) – 1-0, 4.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 2 SV
Troy Tulowitzki (New York Yankees) – 2-for-11, 1 HR, 10-day IL
Marco Estrada (Oakland Athletics) – 16.1 IP, 2.76 ERA, 0.80 WHIP