Top 10 Former Blue Jays Currently on Other Teams
Over the May 25th-27th weekend road trip in Texas, I watched Michael Young and thought about what he would look like in a Blue Jays uniform today. In fact, Young was once a Blue Jays player. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997.
That made me think—what about the players that the Toronto Blue Jays did have on their team? Players they drafted or had in the farm system for more than one season but are no longer playing on the Blue Jays now?
It is an interesting list.
Some players were traded, some waived and others were simply purchased by other teams. Players on this list have won Gold Gloves, appeared in All-Star games, won multiple World Series, won Cy Young awards and are still playing at a high level to this day.
1993 was the season the Blue Jays won their last World Series. It’s also the year they drafted someone from this list.
I put together the top 10 and have three honorable mentions. When ranking the players, I took into account their postseason success, any awards they have won and All-Star game appearances. Then, I looked at their stats and how they played on their new teams. Some have only been away from the Blue Jays organization for a year or two, so they rank lower.
You might be surprised by No. 1.
10. Cesar Izturis
Cesar Izturis was signed as a free agent by the Blue Jays in 1996 and made his debut in 2001. He played 46 games for Toronto (at second base and short stop) and was traded along with Paul Quantrill to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Chad Ricketts and Luke Prokopec in December of 2001.
With Toronto – It’s hard to look at just 46 games and make too much judgment, but with Toronto he batted .269 with 19 runs and eight stolen bases in 46 games.
Since Then – Cesar is currently in his 12th season and is playing for his seventh team. He has over 1200 games played, 425 runs, 295 RBIs and 110 stolen bases. He is a career .255 batter.
Conclusion – He has appeared in one All-Star game (in 2005 with the Dodgers) and won a Gold Glove award in 2004. He also went to the postseason once with the Dodgers in 2004 and had three hits in 17 at-bats. In 2003 he led the league in assists with 481. He was later traded for Greg Maddux in 2006.
9. Alex Rios
Alex Rios was drafted in the first round (19th pick) in 1999 and debuted in 2004. He played six years with Toronto and was claimed off waivers by the White Sox in August 2009.
With Toronto – Rios had three good seasons in Toronto (2006-08) and appeared in two All-Star games. He finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting as well. In over 809 games played with the Blue Jays, Rios has 451 runs, 81 HRs, 395 RBIs, 112 stolen bases and a .285 batting average. Rios almost won the 2007 Home Run Derby but lost to Vladimir Guerrero.
Since Then – Now in his fourth season with the White Sox, he has 41 home runs in 378 games. His batting average with Chicago is .253 with an OPS of .695. Since Chicago wins fewer games with him in the lineup (48.8 percent), the $50 million left on his contract is hard to swallow (from 2012-2015).
Conclusion – Rios has come a long way from his 114 runs scored in 2007 to batting .253 with Chicago. Chicago is stuck with his contract because if he is traded, his salary increases by $500k. He looked good for a few years in Toronto, but cutting his salary was necessary to move on in 2009. In 1999, players like Carl Crawford (picked 52nd overall), Brandon Phillips (57th), Justin Morneau (89th), Shane Victorino (194th) and Albert Pujols (402nd) were all taken later than Rios (19th).
8. Shaun Marcum
Shaun Marcum was drafted in the third round in 2003 and debuted in 2005. He played five years with Toronto and in December 2010 was traded to Milwaukee for Brett Lawrie.
With Toronto – Marcum started 95 games for Toronto going 37-25 over that span. He has one complete game and one save with Toronto. He missed the 2009 season with Tommy John surgery. The Blue Jays won 53.5 percent of the games Marcum started for them. He was the Blue Jays' Opening Day starter in 2010, succeeding Roy Halladay—who had opened since 2003.
Since Then – 2012 is Marcum’s second year with Milwaukee, and he has a 15-10 record in 42 games started for the Brewers. He has lowered his ERA (3.85 on Jays vs. 3.63 on Milwaukee) and his WHIP (1.23 vs. 1.17).
Conclusion – In the last year's postseason with the Brewers, Shaun went 0-3 with an ERA of 14.90 and a WHIP of 2.28. Milwaukee gave up Brett Lawrie for Marcum, so they could load up for the playoffs. Perhaps Marcum is not a playoff pitcher, but so far this trade has favored the Blue Jays, since Marcum is a free agent after the 2012 season.
7. Vernon Wells
Vernon Wells was drafted in the first round (5th pick) in 1997 and debuted in 1999. He played twelve years with Toronto and was traded with cash to the Los Angeles Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera in January 2011. Four days later, Toronto traded Napoli to Texas for Frank Francisco. In July of 2011, Rivera was purchased by the Dodgers.
With Toronto – Wells leaves Toronto as one of the organization's all-time greats (second only to Carlos Delgado in runs, HRs and RBIs), although he fell out of favor with fans before he was traded. In almost 1400 games with Toronto (1393), Wells had 789 runs, 223 HRs and 813 RBIs with a .280 batting average. Wells won the Silver Slugger award in 2003, is a two-time All-Star, won three Gold Gloves and twice received MVP votes (finished eighth in 2003).
Since Then – In his second season with Los Angeles, he is batting .223 with the Angels. He has hit 31 HRs in 169 games with an OPS of .669. He is also making $21 million from 2012-2014. That is $1 million less than what Albert Pujols AND C.J. Wilson will make in 2012.
Conclusion – Vernon is one of the best Blue Jays, and it is a shame that injuries cut short his numbers. In eight seasons he has hit at least 20 HRs. But it is his contract that overshadows his on-field play. It’s hard to see Wells hit just .223 with the Angels and earn $63 million with them over three years.
6. Orlando Hudson
Orlando Hudson drafted in the 43rd round in the 1997 draft by the Blue Jays and debuted in 2002. He played four years with Toronto and was traded to Arizona with Miguel Batista for Troy Glaus and Sergio Santos in December 2005 (yup, same Santos who is now closing for Blue Jays).
With Toronto – O-Dog played four seasons in Toronto and had 209 runs in 462 games played. He hit 35 HRs over his time with Toronto and drove in 201. He won a Gold Glove in 2005.
Since Then – Hudson has played on five other teams since being traded from Toronto in 2005. He has been an All-Star two times and has won three Gold Gloves. His 162-game average shows a batting line of 80-11-66-10 .275, which isn't bad for a second basemen who has been bounced around.
Conclusion – He has played in the postseason twice—2009 and 2010. In 11 games he has a .313 batting average with an OPS of 1.000. He also goes down as yet another Blue Jays infielder shipped out of town. However, his trade has led to Edwin Encarnacion, Sergio Santos and Colby Rasmus all playing with Toronto, so the Blue Jays come out on top on this one.
5. Eric Hinske
Eric Hinske was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 17th round in 1998. He was traded to Oakland for Miguel Cairo in March of 2001. In December of 2001, Oakland traded Hinske and Justin Miller to Toronto for Billy Koch. He debuted as a Blue Jay in 2002. In 2006 his contract was purchased by the Boston Red Sox.
With Toronto – Eric Hinske played five seasons for the Blue Jays and won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2002. He hit 99-24-84-13 .279 (all career-highs except for batting average). Hinske owns the Blue Jays' record for most HRs by a rookie with 24. Hinske ended up with 655 games in Toronto, hitting 78 HRs and 313 RBIs. His .259 batting average with Toronto was his highest on any team.
Since Then – He had one other season so far in which he hit over 20 HRs. In three seasons with Atlanta, he hit 87 RBIs, which is three more than he hit in just the 2002 season with the Blue Jays. His numbers were not really that great, but he has 135 home runs in his career and over 500 RBIs. Hinske is on this list because of what he has done in the playoffs. He is a .286 hitter in the postseason, with and OPS of 1.587 in 10 games. He has played in three different World Series and has won two of them.
Conclusion – Eric Hinske was traded two times before he ever played a game in the majors. That would be a continuing theme in his career, as he has played with six different teams. The odd stat about Hinske is that he played in postseason baseball from 2007-2010 with four different teams—winning the World Series with Boston and the New York Yankees.
4. Michael Young
Michael Young was drafted in the fifth round in 1997 by the Blue Jays. He signed and spent three years and one month in the Blue Jays organization, then was traded to the Texas Rangers along with Darwin Cubillan for Esteban Loaiza in July of 2000. He debuted with Texas in 2000.
With Toronto – Young never played for the Blue Jays but is on this list because of the career he has had with Texas and the fact that he spent more than one season in the Blue Jays farm system. You need to look at what could have been with Young and compare it to how Loaiza did with Toronto. Loaiza pitched three seasons with the Blue Jays going 25-28, and the Blue Jays won 49.4 percent of games he started. In 2003 Loaiza signed as a free agent with the White Sox, won 21 games and finished second in Cy Young voting.
Since Then – Michael Young has played 13 seasons for the Texas Rangers, playing in over 1700 games. He has over 1000 runs (1027), 2100 hits, 172 HRs, 938 RBIs and is a career .303 hitter. His 162-game average shows a batting line of 97-16-89-8 .303. He has led the league in hits twice—with 221 and 213 hits. He won the AL batting title in 2005. Young is a seven-time All-Star and has received MVP votes five times in his career. He also won a Gold Glove in 2008.
Conclusion – 2012 is the only season in which Young has a negative WAR, besides his rookie season in which he only played two games. He has never hit more than 24 HRs, but his runs scored have been consistent over his 13 years. He has been to the postseason twice, both times losing the World Series. In 33 postseason games played, he has a .241 batting average. Although his numbers don’t stand out, he gets hits and scores a lot of runs. I would have loved seeing him in Toronto and wish Toronto stuck with him over Esteban Loaiza.
3. Jayson Werth
Jayson Werth was drafted in the first round (22nd pick) in 1997 by the Baltimore Orioles but was traded in 2000 for John Bale and debuted in 2002 with the Blue Jays. He played two seasons—just 41 games—with Toronto and was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jason Frasor in 2004.
With Toronto – In his 104 plate appearances as a Blue Jay, he posted a batting line of 11-2-16-2 .234. He had 36 total bases and hit into four double plays. He played college ball with Vernon Wells.
Since Then – He has over 500 runs, 140 home runs, 460 RBIs and 97 stolen bases. He was an All-Star in 2009 (when he hit 36 HRs) and had MVP votes in two seasons (finished eighth in 2010). He had the fourth-highest runs scored in the NL in 2010 with 106, had 46 doubles in 2010 (which led the league) and won the World Series with Philadelphia in 2008.
Conclusion – Jayson Werth was not drafted as a Blue Jay but spent multiple seasons in the Blue Jays organization and debuted with Toronto in 2002 as a rookie. He put up an oWAR (offensive wins above replacement) of 13.5 with Philadelphia and a -0.2 with Toronto. The lack of offensive production with Toronto could be why he was traded for Jason Frasor, who is the Blue Jay with the most games played since this trade.
2. Roy Halladay
Roy Halladay was a first-round pick (17th overall) in 1995 and debuted in 1998. He played 12 seasons with Toronto and was dealt to Philadelphia for Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor in 2009.
With Toronto – Roy Halladay is second behind Dave Stieb in all-time wins and strikeouts for the Blue Jays. Over 12 seasons, he won 148 games and a Cy Young award (in 2003, when he won 22 games, with 9 complete games and 204 Ks). He also had 49 complete games with 15 shutouts for the Blue Jays and was a six-time All-Star. Taking away two seasons in which he failed to get at least 15 starts, he won at least 15 games with the Jays for 11 seasons.
Since Then – In the three seasons (two complete and the current season) playing for Philadelphia, he was won 44 games, posting a 2.55 ERA with 17 complete games. He is a two-time All-Star and won the Cy Young award in 2010 (when he won 21 games and had 219 strikeouts). The Phillies have a .700 winning percentage when Roy Halladay pitches.
Conclusion - Roy Halladay has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for the past 10 seasons. Since joining the Phillies, he has received MVP votes twice. The players he was traded for have had success in the minors. So far, d’Arnaud is ripping up Triple-A (28-10-27 .926 OPS in 41 games) in Las Vegas. Kyle Drabek is 8-12 in 30 games over two seasons for the Blue Jays, and Michael Taylor has been since traded to Oakland for Brett Wallace.
Brett Wallace was then traded to Houston for Anthony Gose (who oddly enough was drafted by the Phillies). Gose has also been playing well in Triple-A (40-3-23-18 .781 OPS in 48 games). As good as Halladay was for Toronto, those three prospects are looking great, and it was great to see Halladay finally get to the postseason in 2010 and 2011 with the Phillies. If he had won a World Series or two since leaving Toronto, he would be raked higher.
1. Chris Carpenter
Chris Carpenter was drafted in the first round (5th overall) in 1993 and debuted in 1997. He played six years with Toronto, was released by the Blue Jays in 2002 and signed by the Cardinals 34 days after being released.
With Toronto – Chris Carpenter was the Opening Day starter in 2002. Carpenter went 49-50 over 6 years in Toronto. He had double-digit wins only three times (12, 11 and 10 wins) and had reached 157 Ks as his highest total. The Blue Jays won less than 50 percent of the games Carpenter played in.
Since Then – In eight seasons with St. Louis, Carpenter has won 95 games—winning at least 15 games five times. The Cardinals have won nearly 60 percent of games he has started. He won the Cy Young in 2005 (when he won 21 games, had seven complete games and 213 strikeouts). He has twice finished in the top three in Cy Young voting since then. He also is a three-time All-Star with St. Louis. He has pitched in the postseason in four different years—going 9-2 in 15 starts. His ERA is 3.05, and he has a 3-0 record in the World Series—winning it twice with St. Louis.
Conclusion – He missed the entire 2003 season, and St. Louis took a gamble on him when they signed him in December 2002. He would have been nice with Roy Halladay at the top of the Blue Jays' roster for the past 10 years, but perhaps St. Louis figured him out more than Toronto would have. Carpenter has won the World Series twice with St. Louis in 2006 and 2011, and that’s why he is the No. 1 rated player who was drafted by the Blue Jays but now plays on another team.
Not everyone can make the top 10. Here are three more players who were once in the Blue Jays system that are now playing for different teams.
Brandon League was drafted in the second round in 2001 and debuted in 2004. He played six years with Toronto and was traded to Seattle with Johermyn Chavez for Brandon Morrow in December 2009.
With Toronto – League pitched in 168 games for Toronto over six years, saving two games. His ERA with Toronto was 4.09. He did strikeout 154 in 202 innings over his time in Toronto. He had 76 strikeouts in 2009.
Since Then – In his third season with the Mariners, League has accumulated 52 saves. He has been an All-Star (2011 when he saved 37 games).
Conclusion – Toronto could not solve the League puzzle. He had one good season and was traded for another reliever in Morrow. The trade looked even when it was made—one struggling reliever for another. Morrow has since been turned into a starter and looks like the Blue Jays' ace so far in 2012. Morrow is two years younger and, in the next two years, could become an All-Star and make Toronto the winner of this trade.
Ryan Roberts was drafted in the 18th round in 2003 and debuted in 2006. He played 17 games for Toronto (at second, third and left field) and was signed as a free agent by Texas in 2007.
With Toronto – Roberts perhaps never found his identity with Toronto and couldn't settle in. He had only two hits in 26 at-bats in Toronto, with 11 strikeouts. His OPS was .392.
Since Then – He had one at bat in Texas in 2008 before he signed as a free agent in Arizona. He broke out in 2011—he had 86 runs, 19 HRs, 65 RBIs and 18 stolen bases.
Conclusion – At 31 who knows how many more seasons he has ahead, but he did hit .275 in Triple-A, with 96 RBIs in 198 games for Syracuse over two seasons.
Brandon Lyon was drafted in the 14th round in 1999 and debuted in 2001. He played two years with Toronto and was selected off waivers by Boston in October 2002.
With Toronto – Lyon went 6-8 in 26 games for the Blue Jays (21 in which he started). His ERA with the Jays is 5.40, with a WHIP of 1.40.
Since Then – Brandon Lyon has pitched for four other teams since being let go in 2002. He never started a game again after leaving Toronto and was turned into a closer, accumulating 78 saves over three seasons.
Conclusion – He managed to pitch in the postseason with Arizona in 2007. In five games his ERA is 0.00 and he has a WHIP of 0.33 with five Ks in six innings. His career ERA is 4.15, so perhaps the postseason is when he turns it up a notch, but six innings is a very small sample size. 78 saves is decent, though.