The 2018 campaign was painful on the eyes and emotions of Toronto Blue Jays fans. In addition to watching their team play some ugly baseball, supporters were forced to bid adieu to a few favourites.
Our latest edition of the Ex-Files takes a closer look at six of these players, each of whom was shipped to a playoff-bound club.
1.3 WAR (FanGraphs) | 8 HR | .246/.352/.449
Each swing Donaldson takes for the Indians in the post-season carries the potential to twist the knife a little further into the hearts of Blue Jays faithful, as well as opposing teams who could have traded for him. Acquired for a relatively small price, the third baseman has looked surprisingly sharp in his return from a calf injury. He owns a .920 OPS with three home runs and 10 walks, against 10 strikeouts, in 16 games with the Indians.
WHAT A PRODIGIOUS BLAST FOR JOSH DONALDSON!” Take it away, Tom. #RallyTogether https://t.co/kp8hFVssHQ
3.2 WAR | 3.65 ERA | 177.2 innings | 193 strikeouts | 51 walks
Happ has been everything the Yankees could have hoped for — and potentially more. He compiled a 2.69 ERA in 63.2 innings since the July trade and New York has won nine of the 11 games the left-hander started. Perhaps more telling of Happ’s impact with the Bronx Bombers, though, is that he was considered to start Wednesday’s American League Wild Card Game against Oakland before Luis Severino got the nod.
0.8 WAR (FanGraphs) | 13 HR | .242/.351/.431
The veteran proved to be a useful piece for the playoff-bound Brewers down the stretch. He started 10 games and came off the bench in nine more, producing an .846 OPS over 54 plate appearances. It remains to be seen if Milwaukee includes the 37-year-old on its post-season roster. He’s still chasing his first World Series ring, having lost twice before in the Fall Classic (2006 with the Tigers and 2015 with the Mets).
1.7 WAR | 11 HR | .284/.378/.512
It’s easy to forget Pearce amid the large roster churn the Blue Jays carried out in the summer. He was traded to Boston on June 28, offering a formidable right-handed bat to what is a powerful lineup. His 143 WRC+ and .387 wOBA with the Red Sox are well above league average and five of his seven home runs for his new team have come against the rival Yankees.
1.2 WAR | 2.63 ERA | 68.1 innings | 79 strikeouts | 17 walks
Like Pearce, the right-hander has been an under-the-radar acquisition. Oh is a steady presence in the Rockies bullpen, pitching to a 2.53 ERA and 10.1 K/9 rate across 21.1 innings. Those numbers are near identical to his first half with the Blue Jays and the organization’s shrewd signing of Oh this past winter shouldn’t be overlooked. Toronto inked him in February to a one-year, $2-million deal with a club option, then flipped him five months later for three minor-leaguers, one of whom is among the Blue Jays’ top 30 prospects.
Forrest Wall, the @BlueJays’ No. 25 prospect, came up clutch with this go-ahead 2-run single in the 10th inning for the @FisherCats last night. More: https://t.co/67YCKoBvaf https://t.co/z7CtU0Tzyj
1.2 WAR | 2.37 ERA | 38.0 innings | 32 strikeouts | 4 walks
Osuna returned last week to Toronto, where his assault charge was front and centre. He registered two saves in that three-game series, continuing his strong run with the Astros (1.99 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 12 saves over 22.2 innings).
Of course this wouldn’t be an Ex-Files without a check-in on the former dynamic Blue Jays duo.
1.0 WAR | 32 HR | .246/.336/.474
Yes, Encarnacion’s still an above-average power hitter. But his 2018 numbers took a dive across the board. This has been the 35-year-old slugger’s worst season since his 2012 breakout in the following categories:
• Hits (123)
• Doubles (16)
• Home runs (32)
• On-base percentage (.336)
• Slugging percentage (.474)
• Strikeout percentage (22.8%)
• Walk percentage (10.9 %)
0.9 WAR | 13 HR | .203/.348/.378
Bautista is reportedly intent on playing next season, preferably for a contender, but given his mediocre overall production this year, suitors won’t exactly be lining up. Bautista, who turns 38 this month, could sell teams on his leadership skills and defensive versatility: He played more than 100 innings at third base, left field and right field in 2018. Additionally, he still gets on base at a strong rate — his .348 OBP this season far exceeds the league average (.318).