Toronto Blue Jays: 2015 Infield, Where are they now?

TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 8: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays is presented with the 2015 A.L. MVP Award by former player and only Blue Jays player to ever win an MVP George Bell before the start of MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on April 8, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 8: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays is presented with the 2015 A.L. MVP Award by former player and only Blue Jays player to ever win an MVP George Bell before the start of MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on April 8, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

In the first three parts of this series I looked at the entire pitching staff of the 2015 playoff team the Toronto Blue Jays and where they are today.  In today’s article, I will be looking at the infield the Blue Jays fielded and where they are today.  If you would like to read the first three parts click the link below:

Starting Rotation: Where are they now?
Bullpen Part 1: Where are they now?
Bullpen Part 2: Where are they now?

Edwin Encarnacion
Edwin Encarnacion finished up his seventh season with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, which was also his fourth season where he was a bona fide power hitter.  Encarnacion hit 31 doubles, 39 home runs, 111 RBI and batted .277; he also led the league in sacrifice fly balls.  Encarnacion was one of the best hitters in the Divisional Series going 6-18 with a double and RBI, and striking out just once.

In 2016, Encarnacion would play in his final season in Toronto and had one of the most famous home runs in Blue Jays history as he walked off the Orioles with a three run home run to win the Wild Card Game.

In that off-season, it appeared from an outsider there was a lot of miscommunication between the Blue Jays and Encarnacion’s camp when he went into free agency.  The Blue Jays quickly signed Kendrys Morales to a three year contract to replace Encarnacion, while Edwin would wait a couple months and finally sign a three year contract with the Cleveland Indians with a team option for a fourth year.  From there Encarnacion would become a bit of a journeyman.  He would play just two years in Cleveland where he averaged 35 home runs and 107 RBI with a .252 average.  In the 2019 off-season he would be traded to the Seattle Mariners and spend half the season there before being dealt to the New York Yankees.  After finishing the season with 34 home runs and 86 RBI, the Yankees elected not to pick up the fourth year team option and he became a free agent.

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Encarnacion signed early in January of this year with the Chicago White Sox on a one year deal worth $12 million with a team option for the same amount for 2021.  In Spring Training this year, the veteran slugger has struggled going 0 for 15 with eight strikeouts, but has suffered a bit this spring with a back injury.  I have no doubt when his career is over he will find his name up on the Level of Excellence at Rogers Centre.

Ryan Goins
Ryan Goins came up through the Blue Jays system as a defensive wizard but lacked offensive ability.  In 2015, due to an injury to Devon Travis, Goins was pressed into the starting spot at second base and had a solid season.  As a top player on the field, he also contributed at the plate hitting .250 with a .318 on base percentage.

Goins struggled at the plate in the ALDS going 0 for 17, however, made several breath taking plays on the field, leaving many fans to respond that he could go 0 for whatever as long as the defence was there.  In the ALCS he hit better going 5-19 with a double and home run.

Goins would remain with the club for two more years, but the team let him walk into free agency after the 2017 season. He signed with the Kansas City Royals for the 2018 season, however after batting .226 with a 29-4 strikeout to walk rate, the Royals released him mid-season and he finished the year by signing a minor league contract to play in AAA for the Philadelphia Phillies.  Last season, Goins would bounce back and forth between the White Sox and their AAA affiliate where he spent most of the time in the minors.  Currently for 2020, Goins has a minor league contract and an invite to camp with the Oakland Athletics.  Going has hit 6-20 in Spring Training and the now 32-year old is hoping to crack the Athletics roster to extend his major league career.

Josh Donaldson
What can we say with Josh Donaldson in 2015?  He was acquired in prior to the start of that season and was an immediate star in Toronto.  Donaldson hit .297 with 41 home runs and 123 RBI to take home the AL MVP award, and drew fans in with his quoted calling out of his teammates early into his tenure.

Donaldson brought playoff experience to Toronto, as he had played each of the previous three seasons in the post season.  In the ALDS Donaldson hit two home runs and hit another in the ALCS.  Donaldson responded in 2016 with a near similar season and finished fourth in league voting in home runs.  The next two seasons the “Bringer of Rain” fought through injury which eventually led to the Blue Jays trading him in 2018 to Cleveland. Due to his injuries the Blue Jays were selling pennies on the dollar are were only able to acquire a 26-year old pitching prospect coming off Tommy John surgery in Julian Merryweather.

Donaldson would get into just 16 regular season games with Cleveland and go 1-11 in the playoff series that Cleveland would lose to Houston.  Donaldson who always wanted a long term contract would be able to get just a one-year deal worth $23 million from the Atlanta Braves, but it would lead into a bounce back season. He finished off last year hitting 37 home runs and 94 RBI while receiving votes for the NL MVP.  His return to elite level had him receiving a four year deal with a club option for fifth year in Minnesota.  During nine games in Spring Training, Donaldson has gone 7-24 with three extra base hits.

Troy Tulowitzki
The Toronto Blue Jays started the season off with the energetic and care free Jose Reyes as their starting shortstop.  While at the plate he was still above average, his defence was declining and had made 13 errors in just 69 games.  A lot of these mishaps on the field were simple plays that the ball would just roll through his legs.  Three days before the trade deadline the Blue Jays decided to go after one of the true stars in the league and acquired Troy Tulowitzki along with LaTroy Hawkins in exchange for Reyes and three prospects.

Tulowitzki made it clear he wasn’t happy about the trade and he appeared to have a chip on his shoulder when he arrived.  The veteran shortstop brought a completely different demeanour than Reyes, which helped the Blue Jays take the next step to finally get back to the playoffs.  “Tulo” struggled in the ALDS, but turned it around in the ALCS.

In an interview I did with Blue Jays prospect Adam Kloffenstein in February, he told me Tulowitzki gave him the best advice, saying it isn’t the best players that make the majors, it is the healthiest. This could be said about Tulo for his career as he was a superstar that couldn’t stay healthy.

The next few years Tulowitzki would continually find himself injured to the point the Blue Jays paid him nearly $38 million prior to the 2019 season to become a free agent.  Tulowitzki would sign on with the New York Yankees for the 2019 season, however after just 13 plate appearances and multiple injuries he retired last July.  Shortly after retiring, the former All-Star took a job as an Assistant Coach with the Texas Longhorns in college baseball. Tulowitzki remains with the Longhorns this season and has brought his attention to detail to their program that also includes former teammate Huston Street on the coaching staff.

Next. Blue Jays vs White Sox, April 7, 1977. dark

Did you think these four players would depart into these directions after the 2015 playoff season?  Are any of these players Hall of Fame players?  Who did you enjoy watching the most?