Since Joe Carter hit a walk-off homer that gave the Toronto Blue Jays their second World Series title over the Philadelphia Phillies in 1993, they've reached the MLB playoffs on two occasions. The Jays had to face tough American League East foes like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox who've combined to win eight World Series titles since '93. Their fan base has suffered through a players strike during the '94 season, a decline in attendance, various logo and uniform changes, and the front office putting together teams that did not live up to expectations.
That changed in 2015 when the Blue Jays won the AL East division with 93 wins and 69 losses and led the league with 252 home runs hit and 852 runs batted in. The Jays made this year's postseason as a wild card, beating the Baltimore Orioles in a one-game playoff. The Blue Jays may have employed the likes of Carlos Delgado, Roy Halladay, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista during the 2000s and 2010s, but they acquired players through free agency, via trade or the amateur draft who would become their worst players. Here are the 20 worst Toronto Blue Jays players since the year 2000.
20 Jose Reyes
On November 19, 2012, the Miami Marlins officially traded infielder Jose Reyes with catcher John Buck, infielder Emilio Bonifacio, and pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays in a 12-player deal. The Dominican-born shortstop began his MLB career with the New York Mets in 2003. Reyes played nine seasons for the Mets until he signed a six-year, $106 million contract with Miami in 2011. One year after, Reyes held the best batting average in the National League at .337, he batted .287 with 11 home runs and 57 RBI for Miami during the '12 season. In Reyes' first season as a Blue Jay, he homered ten times, amassed 37 RBI and batted .296 with 34 walks. In 2014, he hit nine home runs and 51 RBI with an average of .287 but committed 19 fielding errors. Reyes' tenure as a Blue Jay ended in 2015 as they traded him to the Colorado Rockies for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins last July.
19 Brett Lawrie
Brett Lawrie was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 until they dealt the Langley, BC native to the Blue Jays for veteran pitcher Shawn Marcum in December 2010. Lawrie made his major league debut at third base with Toronto on August 5, 2011. The young slugger had nine home runs with 25 runs batted in and hit .293 in 43 games for the Jays. The 2012 season was a productive year offensively for Lawrie, launching 11 homers, 48 RBI, drew 33 walks and collected 143 hits in 125 games. But Lawrie struggled to defend that year, committing a then career-high 17 errors while earning a four-game suspension for throwing his helmet towards home plate umpire Bill Miller over a questionable strike three call. Lawrie had decent offensive numbers in 2013 with 11 homers and 46 RBI in 107 games, but his 2014 season was mostly forgettable. He appeared in 70 games that year because of finger and oblique injuries that landed him on the disabled list twice. The Jays traded Lawrie and three other prospects to the Oakland Athletics for infielder Josh Donaldson in November 2014, and the deal has done wonders for Toronto since.
18 Jeff Frye
Jeff Frye began his MLB career as a second baseman for the Texas Rangers on July 9, 1992. In 67 games played, Frye hit one home run and 12 RBI with a batting average of .256 during the Rangers' 1992 season. Frye played two more years for Texas until signing a free-agent contract with the Boston Red Sox in May 1996. He played four seasons with Boston, hitting nine homers and 117 RBIs despite missing the entire '98 season. The Red Sox traded Frye in a seven-player deal to the Colorado Rockies in July 2000, playing 37 games in the Mile High state. Frye then signed with the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent before the 2001 season. But Frye struggled in his lone season in Toronto, recording two home runs and 15 RBI in 74 games. His shining moment with the Jays came on August 17th when he hit for the cycle in an 11-3 win against Texas, his former team. Frye finished his brief career with 16 homers and 194 runs batted in.
17 Scott Schoeneweis
Scott Schoeneweis played 12 seasons as a relief pitcher for seven different MLB teams. He began his career with the Anaheim Angels in 1999, earning a World Series ring with the organization in 2002. The Angels traded Schoeneweis to the Chicago White Sox in July 2003, where he played two years. Schoeneweis entered free agency after the '04 season to sign a two-year contract with the Blue Jays worth $5.25 million in January 2005. Schoeneweis' first season with the Blue Jays was decent, recording three wins and four losses with 43 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.32. His 2006 season in Toronto was somewhat of a disappointment. Schonenweis allowed 27 earned runs, walked 16 batters and blew two saves in 55 games. The Jays traded him to the Cincinnati Reds in August 2006. The New Jersey-born reliever continued his career with the New York Mets from 2007 to '08, Arizona Diamondbacks in '09, and ended it with the Boston Red Sox in 2010.
16 Russ Adams
The Toronto Blue Jays drafted shortstop Russ Adams in the first round of the 2002 MLB draft. Adams played two years of college baseball at the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. He would make his Blue Jays debut in September 2004, recording his first career base hit versus the Oakland Athletics. Adams went on to hit four home runs, ten RBI and batted .306 in 22 games for Toronto in their 2004 season. The '05 season turned out to be a solid year in Adams' professional baseball career. Through 139 games, he smacked eight home runs, 63 runs batted in, 123 base hits, drew 50 walks, and scored 68 runs with a batting average of .256. The next season for Adams was mostly forgettable. He homered three times, knocked in 28 RBI and batted .219 in 90 games for the Jays in 2006. Toronto demoted Adams to their triple-A affiliate in Syracuse for parts of the 2007 season and all of 2008. Adams played his last MLB game in June 2009.
15 Colby Rasmus
The St. Louis Cardinals selected outfielder Colby Rasmus in the first round of the 2005 MLB draft. He made his big league debut for the Cardinals on April 7, 2009, going 2 for 2 with two runs scored against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Rasmus played two more seasons for St. Louis until they traded him in an eight-player deal to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 27, 2011. Following the trade, Rasmus appeared in 35 games for the Jays and recorded three homers, 13 RBI, and 23 base hits. His next three seasons in Toronto provided had mixed results for their offense. Although Rasmus hit over 20 home runs with the Jays from 2012-13, he struck out 149 times in 2012 and 135 times the following year. He played a career-low 104 games during the 2014 season but went on to hit his first three home runs as a pinch-hitter in his career. Rasmus left the Blue Jays to sign a one-year deal worth $8 million with the Houston Astros last January.
14 Scott Rolen
Scott Rolen began his MLB career with the Philadephia Phillies in 1996. The Indiana native had a breakout season in 1997, hitting 21 homers and 92 RBI with a .283 average. Those numbers earned Rolen the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year award. Rolen played seven solid seasons with the Phillies until they traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2002. Rolen inked an eight-year contract extension worth $90 million with the Cards. His batting average went over .250 in five of his six seasons with St. Louis, collected a career-best 124 RBI in 2004, and won a World Series title in 2006. But St. Louis traded him to the Blue Jays for Troy Glaus on January 14, 2008. Rolen started his '08 season on the disabled list which might've led to his decline offensively with 11 homers and 50 RBI in 115 games. The Jays traded Rolen to the Cincinnati Reds for infielder Edwin Encarnacion and pitcher Josh Roenicke in July 2009. The Jays clearly benefitted from the Rolen trade thanks to Encarnacion's incredible offensive production in the regular season.
13 B.J. Ryan
B.J. Ryan played the majority of his 11-year MLB career with the Baltimore Orioles as a relief pitcher. In 2005, Ryan recorded 36 saves and a 2.43 ERA in his first season as Baltimore's full-time closer until he reached an agreement to join the Toronto Blue Jays. Despite having little experience closing out games, the left-hander from Louisiana signed a five-year, $47 million deal with the Blue Jays before the 2006 campaign. Ryan picked up from where he left off in '05 by recording a career-best 38 saves and an ERA of 1.37 for the 2006 Blue Jays. In 2007, Ryan picked up three saves out of five opportunities, then chose to undergo Tommy John surgery which ended his second season with the Jays. Despite recording 32 saves in 2008, Ryan had an ERA of 2.95 through 58 innings pitched, and Toronto released him the following season.
12 Howie Clark
Howie Clark played 302 MLB games for three teams. The Baltimore Orioles selected Clark in the 1992 draft but played his first game with the O's ten years later. The California native appeared in 14 games during Baltimore's 2002 season, hitting no home runs but collected four RBI and batted .302 in 53 at-bats. Clark signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in November 2002. He split the 2003 MLB season with the Jays and their minor league affiliate in Syracuse, playing 66 games with the SkyChiefs. Clark provided little offense during the 2003 Blue Jays season, hitting no home runs and seven RBI in 38 games. He appeared in 40 games for the 2004 Blue Jays but wasn't much of an offensive factor by hitting just three home runs and 12 RBI that season. Clark returned for his second stint with Baltimore in 2006, then signed minor league deals with San Diego and Toronto in '07. Again, the Jays purchased Clark's contract but disappointed with only two RBI in 31 games.
11 J.P. Arencibia
J.P. Arencibia played college baseball at the University of Tennesee from '05 to '07 until the Toronto Blue Jays drafted him in 2007. He made his MLB debut as a catcher for Toronto on August 7, 2010, against the Tampa Bay Rays. Arencibia hit his first career home run on the first pitch he saw from Tampa pitcher James Shields and went 4 for 5 with two home runs, one double and one RBI single.
But 2011 was the year that Arencibia would break out. The Miami native recorded 23 homers, 78 RBI, and averaged .219 in 129 games. Arencibia's home run and RBI totals dropped to 18 and 56 in 2012 due to a right-hand injury he sustained in July. Before his injury, he hit 16 home runs and drove in 50 runs with a .242 average. Arencibia's 2013 season was very disappointing as he hit .194 with 21 home runs, 55 RBI, struck out 148 times and also committed 11 errors that season. Toronto non-tendered their struggling catcher in December 2013. Arencibia continued his career with the Texas Rangers in 2014 and with Tampa in 2015.
10 Dustin McGowan
Pitcher Dustin McGowan played baseball for a high school he attended in his home state of Georgia. The Blue Jays selected him 33rd overall in the 2000 draft. McGowan spent five years in Toronto's minor league system until they recalled him on July 30, 2005, to make his MLB debut against Texas. McGowan joined the Jays' starting rotation in 2007, starting 27 games with a 12-10 record, 144 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.08. McGowan had a somewhat disappointing 2008 season, posting a 6-7 record 85 strikeouts and a 4.37 ERA. Surgical procedures to McGowan's shoulder caused him to miss the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He returned for five games in 2011 but posted no wins and two losses. Although McGowan signed a contract extension with Toronto in March 2012, he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder that was performed by Dr. James Andrews. McGowan appeared in 25 games during the Jays' 2013 season, then made eight starts with a 5-3 record in 2014. McGowan is currently under contract with the Miami Marlins.
9 Jesse Litsch
Jesse Litsch was a young pitcher from Florida who would be drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004. Litsch served as a bat boy for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2002 and '03. He played his first MLB game on May 15, 2007, against the Baltimore Orioles. He pitched 8.2 innings, held the O's to one run on four hits and earned his first career win. Litsch became the first Jays pitcher to win in their debut since Brandon Lyon in August 2001. He finished the 2007 season with seven wins, 50 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.81 through 111 innings. Litsch had a solid '08 season by winning 13 games, recorded 99 strikeouts and a 3.58 ERA with two complete game shutouts for the Jays. His last three seasons in Toronto were less than stellar. Litsch went through Tommy John surgery that limited him to two games in 2009, then posted a 1-5 record with a 5.79 ERA and 16 K's in 2010 and spent parts of 2011 in the bullpen. He retired in 2014 with a 27-27 record and 239 strikeouts over five seasons. Litsch serves as a pitching coach for the Atlantic League's Bridgeport Bluefish.
8 Homer Bush
The San Diego Padres drafted second baseman Homer Bush in 1991. He did not play a game for the Padres as they traded his rights to the New York Yankees in April '97. Bush played his first major league game for the Yankees on August 16th that same year. He played two seasons with New York, earning a World Series championship in 1998 until they traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays for pitcher Roger Clemens before the '99 season. Bush hit ten of his eleven career home runs in his four years with the Jays. Bush's 1999 season was impressive, hitting five home runs with 55 RBI and a .320 average but his production took a nosedive in 2000. Bush smacked one home run and drove in 18 RBI that season. The Jays released Homer Bush after four seasons in May 2002 and continued his career with the Florida Marlins and again with the Yankees.
7 Ted Lilly
The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted pitcher Ted Lilly in the 23rd round of the 1996 draft. But in 1999, they traded Lilly to the Montreal Expos, making his MLB debut on May 14th as a reliever. Lilly played one season in Montreal, then spent three years with the New York Yankees (2000-02) and with the Oakland A's (2002-03). In November 2003, the Blue Jays traded outfielder Bobby Kielty to Oakland for the left-handed Lilly, who came off a 12 win season. Lilly had a decent 2004 season, recording 12 victories with 168 strikeouts, a 4.06 ERA and two complete games in 32 starts. His first half accomplishments earned him a spot in the All-Star Game that season. Lilly's two stints on the disabled list limited him to 25 starts and 96 strikeouts in 2005. His ERA increased to 5.56 as a result. Lilly bounced back in 2006 with 15 wins, but he'd be involved in a famous dugout incident with Jays manager John Gibbons as he wanted the ball from his pitcher. Lilly continued his career with the Chicago Cubs and L.A. Dodgers.
6 Travis Snider
The Blue Jays drafted outfielder Travis Snider as a teenager in the first round of the 2006 draft. Snider needed to overcome personal adversity in September 2007, when his mother Patty died in a car accident. Eleven months later, Snider played his first MLB game for the Jays on August 29th against the New York Yankees. He recorded his first big league double and scored a run at old Yankee Stadium, which hosted their final season of operation as a major league ballpark. Snider occasionally struggled to produce at the plate in his short time with the Jays despite having a career season six years ago. Their promising prospect homered 14 times and drove in 32 RBI with a .255 average in 2010. Snider recorded a combined six home runs in 2011 and 2012, and Toronto traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 2012 trade deadline for pitcher Brad Lincoln.
5 Dewayne Wise
Dewayne Wise was a draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1997 but would not make his major league debut with them. The Toronto Blue Jays selected Wise as a Rule 5 pick from the Reds in 1999, then played his first MLB game with Toronto on April 6, 2000. He appeared in 70 games for the Blue Jays in 2000 and 2002, hitting three home runs and 13 runs batted in. Wise achieved an average of .179 through 42 games for the '02 Blue Jays. Wise played for the Atlanta Braves in 2004, then returned to Cincinnati from 2006-07, and played for the Chicago White Sox from 2008-09. Wise became relevant in a White Sox game against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 23, 2009, making a game-saving catch that robbed Gabe Kapler of a home run in the 9th inning which led to Mark Buehrle's perfect game. The Jays brought back Wise at least in 2010 and '11 but fared poorly. Wise hit just three home runs and 16 RBI in 62 games in his two stints with Toronto.
4 Emilio Bonifacio
Emilio Bonifacio played his first six MLB seasons for three different National League teams: the Arizona Diamondbacks (2007-08), Washington Nationals (2008), and the Miami Marlins (2008-12). Best known as a utility player, Bonifacio recorded 40 stolen bases and 59 RBI for the Fish in 2011. The Dominican-born major leaguer had a forgettable 2012 season with Miami, who shipped him to the Toronto Blue Jays in November as part of their multi-player deal involving Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. Once Bonifacio joined Canada's MLB team in 2013, he could not live up to the expectations they had of him. In 94 games, Bonifacio batted .218 with three home runs, drove in 20 RBI, and possessed an on-base percentage of .258. The Jays had seen enough, as they traded Bonifacio to the Kansas City Royals in August of 2013. One can only wonder why the Jays saw Bonifacio as a difference-maker on the field and at the plate.
3 R.A. Dickey
R.A. Dickey quietly began his major league career as a pitcher for the Texas Rangers in April 2001. Dickey appeared in four games that year and played his first full season with the Rangers in 2003, earning nine wins in 38 appearances. Dickey played five seasons in Texas, followed by stints with Seattle in '08 and Minnesota in '09 until signing a minor league contract with the New York Mets in 2010. The Nashville native had a phenomenal 2012 season for New York, allowing just 71 earned runs and recording career highs in wins (20), strikeouts (230), and innings pitched (233.2) to win the National League Cy Young Award, the first knuckleballer ever to do so. The Toronto Blue Jays traded promising prospects Noah Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud with catcher John Buck for the Cy Young winner in December 2012. But Dickey was never the same in Toronto, posting a 29-42 record in four seasons as a Blue Jay and gave up 105 earned runs in 2013.
2 Chris Carpenter
Chris Carpenter had a stellar 15-year career in the big leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals, winning 144 games and two World Series titles with St. Louis in 2006 and 2011. In 1993, the Jays drafted Carpenter in the first round. The New Hampshire native played his first MLB game with the Blue Jays on May 15, 1997. Carpenter won 12 games in '98 and just nine in 1999 with Toronto, but he would struggle at the turn of the century. In the Blue Jays' 2000 season, Carpenter pitched 175 innings but had a losing record of 10-12, allowed 122 earned runs, and 30 homers in 34 appearances. He pitched a then career-high 215.2 innings for Toronto with an 11-11 record in 2001. Carpenter had a rough 2002 season as a Blue Jay, where his three stints on the disabled list caused him to make just 13 starts. Carpenter became a free agent after the '02 season to sign with St. Louis.
1 Josh Johnson
Josh Johnson began his MLB career as a starting pitcher for the Florida Marlins. They drafted Johnson in the 4th round of the 2002 draft and made his major league debut as a reliever in September 2005. Johnson won 56 games in seven seasons with the Fish but would become a piece in the November 2012 trade that sent him, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle from Miami to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Toronto manager John Gibbons announced in the Jays' state of the franchise that Johnson was named the Jays' fourth starter in their rotation for 2013. Johnson's only season with the Blue Jays was a complete disaster from the start. He allowed 15 earned runs over the course of April and pitched his worst baseball in July. Johnson lost five of his starts and gave up eight homers, 22 earned runs, and five unearned runs that month. Johnson finished 2013 with a 2-8 record and an ERA of 6.20.