It's hard for any fan base to watch another team arrive at a World Series, especially when that team finished with fewer wins.
But, despite embodying what could have been if the Toronto Blue Jays had snagged just a few more wins in 2021, the current Atlanta Braves — who begin a final series against the Houston Astros on Tuesday — could give long-time Jays fans a lot to cheer for. Even setting aside Canadian connections like Freddie Freeman and Mike Soroka, Atlanta's roster, coaching staff, and management are littered with former bluebirds.
Here are some members of the 2021 Atlanta Braves who have played or worked for the Toronto Blue Jays organization in the past:
P Jesse Chavez
Chavez had two one-year stints with the Blue Jays, acquired for the second time in 2016 for RP Liam Hendriks. Chavez posted a 5.89 ERA in 62.2 career innings for Toronto and has pitched 4.1 innings for Atlanta so far in these playoffs, including a start in NLCS Game 4.
C Travis d'Arnaud
d'Arnaud's biggest impact on Blue Jays lore is his role in two of the biggest trades in recent franchise history. The catcher was acquired by Toronto in 2009 alongside prospects Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor for star pitcher Roy Halladay and was traded away three years later as part of the R.A. Dickey package.
C Jeff Mathis
A one-season former Blue Jay, Mathis was part of the seven-player package sent to Miami in 2012 that netted Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, and more. Mathis played in just three games for the Braves this year but is still four wins away from receiving his first World Series ring after 17 MLB seasons.
P Carl Edwards Jr.
Edwards Jr. pitched just 5.2 innings in the big leagues this season, playing for two teams: the Braves and Blue Jays. He recorded just one out for Atlanta, allowing three runs and owning an 81 ERA for the club, and was signed by the Jays in May.
P Ty Tice
When Edwards Jr. was placed on the Blue Jays 40-man roster at the end of May, Toronto designated Tice for assignment. He was claimed off waivers by Atlanta, pitched in one inning for the MLB club, and appeared in Triple-A for the Braves before he was waived once again and claimed by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Both Tice and Edwards Jr. could receive rings at Atlanta's discretion if the Braves top the Astros.
Hitting Coach, Kevin Seitzer
Seitzer was the Blue Jays hitting coach during the 2014 season, where Toronto scored the fifth-most runs in baseball (4.56 per game). He joined the Braves in the same role for the 2015 season and has been with the organization ever since.
Catching Coach, Sal Fasano
Fasano played 16 games for the Blue Jays in 2007, filling in for an injured Gregg Zaun before he was released later that season. After retiring and moving into coaching, he managed the Double A New Hampshire Fisher Cats for three seasons, winning the Eastern League in 2011.
Bullpen Catcher, Jose Yepez
Yepez played three seasons of minor league baseball in the Blue Jays system in the early 2000s, including 18 games for the Rookie League Medicine Hat Blue Jays in 2001. He never made it above A+ for Toronto, playing over 100 games in minor and international leagues until transferring to coaching in 2016.
Batting Practice Pitcher, Tomás Pérez
Peréz played his first four seasons in the big leagues for Toronto, registering 178 games from 1995 to 1998. He was traded to the Anaheim Angels for infielder Dave Hollins in 1999.
General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos
Anthopolous was a member of the Blue Jays organization from 2003 to 2015, working his way up from scouting coordinator. He was the GM for the franchise's first playoff appearance since 1993 and won Sporting News Executive of the Year in 2015.
Assistant GM, Jason Paré
Joining Toronto's analytics department in 2013, Paré worked alongside Joe Sheehan for two years where his "reputation grew" as an analyst in the industry. He was later poached by the Miami Marlins to build out their analytics department in 2015 before joining the Braves under Anthoploulos a few years later.
VP Scouting, Dana Brown
Working as a special assistant to general manager Ross Atkins, Brown left Toronto for a vice president of scouting role with Anthoplous' Braves in 2019. Brown had hired Anthoplous almost two decades earlier as a coordinator of scouting for the Expos.
Scout, John Gibbons
Two-time Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was hired by his former GM in 2020 to work as a scout for the Braves. Gibbons has been working mainly on draft prospects as a national amateur scouting crosschecker.
Head Athletic Trainer, George Poulis
Assistant Athletic Trainers, Mike Frostad and Jeff Stevenson
Poulis and other members of the Blue Jays' training staff were some of Anthoplous' first hires when he joined the Braves in 2017. Poulis was Toronto's head athletic trainer for 15 years while Frostad worked in the Toronto organization for two decades.