There were a lot of beloved players that have left the Blue Jays’ roster in the last couple of seasons. How are they doing in their new homes in 2019?
Over the course of the last calendar year the Toronto Blue Jays have seen much of their major league roster turned on its head as many players departed, either by trade or free agency.
Many household names such as Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki have been shipped out as the Blue Jays have fully embraced a youth movement this season. While many of those names have found success such as Martin, Happ, and even Dwight Smith Jr., many have struggled mightily since their departure from Toronto.
Troy Tulowitzki once said that if he was not good enough to play shortstop, he would pack his bags and go home. Home is exactly where the New York Yankees told Tulowitzki to go as he rehabs back from a left calf strain.
The veteran shortstop lasted just five games with the Yankees before heading to the injured list, which is at least a five-game improvement on his 2018 season in which he failed to make an appearance for the Blue Jays.
Thus far, it is looking like the highlight of Tulowitzki’s 2019 campaign may just be a spring training home run off his former team. Touch ‘em all Troy, you may never hit a bigger home run in your life.
Perhaps it would be wise for a professional to check Kendrys Morales for any sign of injury as it seems apparent that the veteran slugger may have fallen off a cliff during his departure from Toronto. Morales was shipped to the Oakland Athletics, but was designated for assignment after hitting just one home run along with a putrid .204 batting average. It was then that the New York Yankees came calling and while many expected Morales to benefit from the short porch, this has not been the case as he batted just .140 through his first 18 games as a member of the Bronx Bombers.
The San Francisco Giants have received no shortage of highlight-reel catches from Kevin Pillar since trading for him early this season, though his bat has failed to deliver on the same level as his glove. Pillar is batting just .215 and is walking even less than usual, posting a career-low 2.8% walk percentage thus far. While Pillar has done his best Superman impression in the outfield, he is looking more like Clark Kent at the dish.
Solarte danced and smiled his way into the hearts of the Blue Jays fanbase last April, but the front office quickly kicked the veteran third baseman to the curb as he regressed throughout the year. The enthusiastic third baseman signed a deal with the San Francisco Giants last offseason but he has failed to give them much reason to dance or celebrate, as the team designated him for assignment after posting a .205 batting average in 28 games. The 31-year old then signed a minor league deal with the Miami Marlins last week.
Josh Donaldson’s time as an Atlanta Brave has been a tricky one to process and is certainly open to interpretation. The former AL MVP has hit eight home runs this season while showing off his plate discipline, as he has maintained his walk rate around career norms. On the contrary, he is striking out at a career-worst rate (27.8%) while his .775 OPS would currently be his lowest since his 2012 campaign with the Athletics.
In other news, Donaldson has certainly held his end of the deal when it comes to his intensity, as he was recently suspended one game for his involvement in a bench-clearing brawl earlier this week.
Steve Pearce looked to be on top of the world after being named the 2018 World Series MVP last season but like the Boston Red Sox, Pearce has suffered from a World Series hangover to start his 2019 campaign. Now 36-years old, Pearce is batting just .180 with a dreadful .503 OPS and is currently on the ten-day injured list with a lower back strain.
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A fan favourite last season, Curtis Granderson impressed Blue Jays fans with his veteran leadership. His play this season for the Miami Marlins has been less than impressive as he is batting just .187 thus far. While he has batted six home runs this season, he is currently also sporting a career-low .634 OPS.
Marco Estrada is no stranger to back injuries and unfortunately, he has continued to be plagued by his back problems this season. Estrada managed to make just five starts for the Oakland Athletics before succumbing to a lumbar strain. Hopefully the veteran pitcher can make a quick recovery, as his injury may have very well played a hand in his start to the season in which he was giving up an average of almost three home runs per nine innings.
Colorado is no easy place to pitch and former Blue Jays reliever Seunghwan Oh has come to find that out the hard way this season. In 18.1 innings of relief, Oh has given up 29 hits, six walks and 19 earned runs, good for a massive 9.33 ERA and 1.90 WHIP. It really is a far cry from the pitcher the Blue Jays witnessed last season, when Oh posted a 2.68 ERA, though injuries may have played a part in his early season collapse. Oh is currently on the injured list with an abdominal strain.
While in some cases it can be unpleasant to see all the former Blue Jays listed above go through their fair share of struggles, the outcome may have been inevitable, seeing as all the listed players are on or approaching the wrong end of their thirties. In the history of baseball, there has only been one man more dominant than any other player before him and that man is father time himself.