TORONTO -- Jose Bautista smiled when he was wished a happy anniversary. Wednesday marked two years since the Blue Jays completed a trade to acquire Bautista from the Pirates. Toronto's leading power hitter could not have been more thrilled with the move.
"It's worked out pretty good so far," said Bautista, who leads the Major Leagues with 40 home runs and leads the Blue Jays with 95 RBIs. "I feel great about being part of this ballclub. I like the direction we're heading."
On July 31, 2008, the Pirates acquired third baseman Andy LaRoche as part of the three-team deal that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and Jason Bay to the Red Sox. As a result, Bautista lost his starting role at third for Pittsburgh and was subsequently sent to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Bautista asked the Pirates to try to pass him through waivers that August, hoping for a fresh start with another team. Toronto attempted to claim him from Pittsburgh, but the two clubs ultimately worked out a trade -- completed on Aug. 25 -- that sent catcher Robinzon Diaz to the Pirates.
"For whatever reason it was, I had fallen out of favor," Bautista said. "I communicated to them that this is a business and obviously they didn't feel that I was the type of player that they wanted on their team. If there was any way possible that they could put me on waivers, see if they could work out a deal to get player in return that they thought could help their organization.
"Get rid of me and don't hinder me from developing into the player that I could be, and let me help another organization. I asked them to put me on waivers and try to work out a deal. They did that a couple days later, and to this day, I'm grateful that they did."