Former legendary Blue Jays scout Epy Guerrero was back in town and long time Blue Jays writer Bob Elliot had a great piece with some crazy quotes:
Guerrero hasn’t worked for the Jays since the fall of 1995, but run into him at any winter meetings and he’ll tell you how he saw a major leaguer first, that he wanted to sign him and that general manager Gord Ash deployed Mel Queen to the Dominican to take a look. Queen wasn’t as impressed. Said the youngster would not get any better.
“Because of Queen, Toronto doesn’t get a hall of famer … Pedro Martinez,” Guerrero told me.
He then pulled no punches when discussing Jose Bautista, saying:
“And,” Guerrero said, “I also stopped the Jays from trading Jose.”
Guerrero said he ran into then manager Cito Gaston at the winter meetings in Las Vegas in December of 2008. Guerrero said Gaston told him that the Jays were about to trade Bautista and asked him to take a look at the hitter when he returned home.
“I phoned Cito after seeing Jose play for Licey and said ‘you better keep this kid,’ ” Guerrero said. “He was figuring out the timing on the leg kick, getting it down right.”
Bautista does not doubt the story.
“After 2009 when I hit 10 home runs in September, they wouldn’t have traded me,” Bautista said. “After 2008? They probably would have, I hadn’t played that much.”
Coming over from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Robinzon Diaz, the catcher of the future, Bautista hit .214 with two doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs in 21 games. He had an OPS of .648 in 13 starts.
“I believe Epy, he probably talked Cito out of trading me, they’re close friends,” Bautista said. “And … and the rest is history.”
It is hard to know how accurate any of his claims are though neither Cito Gaston nor Jose Bautista exactly denied any of it. Take it for what it is worth, the ramblings of an old employee and long time baseball man.