Trade Details

Date: August 21, 2008

Pittsburgh Pirates acquire

  • Catcher Robinzon Diaz

Toronto Blue Jays acquire

  • Third baseman/Outfielder Jose Bautista

3B/OF Jose Bautista

3B/OF Jose Bautista

Bautista was an extremely ordinary player at the time of this transaction. Whatever value he generated at the plate was cancelled out by his shaky fielding, and the Blue Jays would become his fifth major league team in as many seasons. But about a year after arriving, he "figured it out" and emerged as one of the sport's dominant power hitters. Bautista is Toronto's all-time leader in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) by a position player and ranks second in home runs.

Bautista Belts Home Run No. 50 (2010)

In his shocking breakout season, Bautista led the major leagues with 54 home runs (breaking a Blue Jays franchise record as well). It would take a few more years for the team to rise in the standings, but he was already a fan favorite.

Explaining His Improvement

Midway through the 2011 season, Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski spoke to Bautista and his teammates about the journey from obscurity to superstardom.

Bautista Hammers Go-Ahead Three-Run Shot (2015)

Arguably the second-most iconic play in Blue Jays history (behind Joe Carter's walk-off home run to clinch the 1993 World Series). The team ended a 22-year postseason drought to reach the 2015 American League Division Series. Bautista's homer ensured that they would advance to the next round.

Blue Jays, Rangers Get into Wild Melee (2016)

During their first meeting since Bautista's heroics, the Blue Jays and Rangers erupted into a benches-clearing fight. The slugger took a direct punch to the face from Texas' Rougned Odor, but avoided significant injury.

C Robinzon Diaz

Diaz continued his professional baseball career through the 2016 season, but hasn't seen any major league action since 2009. He totaled only one home run in 44 games at the highest level.

Trade's Legacy

Bautista's career arc is highly unusual in a sport where players typically perform best in their early-to-mid 20's, so it's hard to fault the Pirates for giving up on him late in his age-27 season. Capitalizing on their decision, the Blue Jays uncovered one of the most important players (and marketable assets) in the majors.

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