8 Blue Jays trade heists people don’t talk about enough

Which trades in Toronto Blue Jays history have they come out clearly on top even though some haven’t realized it?
Sep 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN   Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19)
Sep 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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Blue Jays acquire José Bautista from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Robinzon Díaz

Perhaps the biggest trade heist in Jays’ history, no one should ever forget how we managed to get José Bautista in our hands. Back in 2008, third baseman Scott Rolen was dealing with a shoulder injury and the Jays needed a temporary solution in the meantime. As a middling player for the Pirates at the time that could play various positions in the field, Bautista caught the eye of the Jays’ management as someone that could fill in at third. Because of his flexibility, Bautista could then move to other positions and play the role as an utilityman when Rolen was good enough to resume his duties.

As a result, they put in the claim for Bautista, who was placed on revocable waivers in August that very year by the Pirates. In the end, they worked out a trade that involved catching prospect Robinzon Diaz going the other way. For Diaz, he would go on to appear in only 43 games for the Pirates while spending the rest of his career in the minor leagues. In the case for Bautista, he became the superstar the new generation Jays sorely needed at the time and brought the team back into significance.

In his 10 seasons with Toronto, Bautista hit .253 with an .878 OPS, 136 OPS+, 790 runs scored, 288 home runs, 766 RBI, 803 walks and 948 strikeouts in 1235 career games played. In doing so, he became a six-time All-Star, a three-time Silver Slugger award winner, along with being an AL MVP finalist in 2011. More importantly, without Bautista, we wouldn’t have what will go down as one of the biggest moments in Blue Jays’ playoff history with his bat-flip home run heard around the world in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Texas Rangers in 2015. He is now enshrined on the Jays’ Level of Excellence and has become an icon in Toronto that will never be forgotten.