They may have released Victoria, B.C. native Rich Harden earlier this month, but several players in the Texas Rangers’ starting lineups on Friday and Saturday have honed their skills in Canada.
Here’s a list of the players and their Canadian connections:
1. Michael Young, 3B
As I’ve written before, Young was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth round of the 1997 draft. That same year, he would toil alongside Vernon Wells on the Class-A Short-Season St. Catharines Stompers, posting a .308 batting average and nine home runs in 74 games. He was dealt to the Rangers on July 19, 2000 for starting pitcher Esteban Loaiza, in what’s widely regarded as the worst trade in Blue Jay history.
2. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
Guerrero is arguably the greatest player to don a Montreal Expos uniform. From 1996 to 2003, he socked a club record 234 home runs and hit .323 for the ill-fated Canadian club. Before injuries took their toll, he was also an elite defensive outfielder, with an arm that drew comparisons to Roberto Clemente’s.
3. Nelson Cruz, LF & RF
Originally signed by the New York Mets, Cruz was traded to the Oakland A’s in August 2000. The power-hitting outfielder, who belted three homers in the ALDS, played 76 games for the Class-A Short-Season Vancouver Canadians in 2002. He belted four homers and knocked in 25 runs during this stint with the Canadian squad.
4. Matt Treanor, C
Treanor, C.J. Wilson’s favorite battery-mate, suited up for 36 games with the Triple-A Calgary Cannons while in the Marlins’ organization in 2002. He hit .284 and knocked in 18 runs during his stint with the Stampede city team.
5. Bengie Molina, C
The portly backstop has toiled in three Canadian cities during his career. After playing one game for the Vancouver Canadians in 1995, he returned to the city in 1998 to suit up for 49 more contests with the then Angels Triple-A squad. When the Angels shifted their Triple-A affiliate to Edmonton in 1999, Molina moved with them. In 65 games with the Edmonton Trappers in 1999, Molina hit .286 and belted seven homers. He also played the 2006 campaign with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he hit .284 with 19 round-trippers.
Do you think Guerrero is a sure thing for the Hall of Fame? (I do.) And if so, do you think there’s a chance he’ll go in with an Expos cap? (I don’t.)
Nice work, Kevin. There’s obviously a lot of research behind these posts.
That’s an interesting question. I do think Guerrero is a Hall of Famer and statistically, I think he enjoyed his greatest success as an Expo. I think there is a chance he could go in as an Expo.
From Devon Teeple:
Great job kevin
I have been involved in the game my whole life, but did not realize how many connections there were to Canada.
Thanks again for the update.
Ps. That Loaiza trade still bothers me
The Loaiza trade was bad but surely not the worst in Jays history?
What about the deal done on July 28, 1995??
The Jays dealt ace David Cone to the Yankees for Marty Janzen, Jason Jarvis and Mike Gordon. Over his next six seasons with the Yankees, Cone gets selected to two all-star teams, throws a perfect game and wins four World Series titles; the ‘pitching prospects’ the Jays got disappeared into obscurity!
I’ve mentioned the Cone trade in another entry. I did a “Where Are They Now? type piece on those three “prospects” the Jays acquired for Cone. You’re right. The Cone deal is right up there with the Young trade as the worst in Jays history.
Maybe you should do a piece on the Blue Jays player most disliked by the fans?
I will start you with Josh Towers, Homer Bush, Mike Nakamura and Miguel Batista. The latter gets my vote.
That would be an interesting article, indeed. Josh Towers was roundly ridiculed, but was a really good guy. Hinske was the same.
I liked Hinske and thought he got some bad press. Don’t get me started on Shea Hillenbrand though…
Enjoy reading your blogs. I know that alot of hard work goes into your research. Keep up the good work.