Blue Jays: Even without a ring, it’s been a good decade

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 14: Jose Bautista
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 14: Jose Bautista /
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NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 12: Edwin Encarnacion #10 and Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrate after both scored runs in the second inning against the New York Yankees after a double from teammate Russell Martin (not pictured) at Yankee Stadium on September 12, 2015 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 12: Edwin Encarnacion #10 and Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrate after both scored runs in the second inning against the New York Yankees after a double from teammate Russell Martin (not pictured) at Yankee Stadium on September 12, 2015 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Jose Bautista/Edwin Encarnacion

One of the biggest reasons the Blue Jays were able to build the last decade’s teams into a contender was a pair of big boppers in their lineup. And when you consider the acquisition cost to have Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion on the roster, it’s not hard to see that there was a little bit of luck at play for the Blue Jays’ front office.

Bautista was acquired in 2008 from the Pirates for Robinzon Diaz, and you’ll be forgiven if this is the only context you’ve ever heard Diaz’s name. Bautista didn’t become a superstar right away after landing in Toronto, but when the new decade began, he announced that he had arrived. He lead all of baseball with 54 home runs in 2010, smashing his career high of 16, and followed it up by doing the same in 2011 with another 43 long bombs.

He was also responsible for this, what I consider to be the third-biggest moment in franchise history, behind only Joe Carter‘s walkoff World Series home run in 1993, and when Carter caught Mike Timlin‘s throw for the final out at first base in 1992.

As for Encarnacion, he had a similar path by becoming a late bloomer. He was originally acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in the Scott Rolen trade, and was even DFA’d in 2010, briefly being picked up by the Oakland A’s. Thankfully the A’s didn’t hang on to him either, and he returned to Toronto to become one of the more feared sluggers in the American League, starting with his 42 home runs in 2012.

Encarnacion had a franchise-changing moment of his own, walking off the Orioles in the AL Wild Card in 2016.

The pair made up one of the scarier duos in baseball for several years, and even if they didn’t win a title, they sure brought a lot of great memories.

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