Oct 28, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder (28) waits in the on deck circle during the eighth inning of game four of the 2012 World Series against the San Francisco Giants at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

What If?


Yu Darvish. Prince Fielder. Gio Gonzalez. If those names sound familiar to you it’s because last offseason those were the players the Toronto Blue Jays were either reportedly trying to acquire or fans of the Blue Jays wanted them to acquire.

If the Blue Jays had acquired those players last season would have been different.

Darvish and Gonzalez would have anchored a strong rotation with Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow. The Blue Jays could have acquired a decent back end starter on the cheap to be the 5th starter and they’d have a very formidable rotation. The Blue Jays would have been able to have Kyle Drabek, Henderson Alvarez, Drew Hutchison and to a lesser extent Brett Cecil properly develop in the minors instead of having to rush them to the big leagues. They also would have provided depth if any of the big league starters got hurt.

Prince Fielder would have filled a hole the Blue Jays still have with Adam Lind as their first basemen. Last season would have been 80 times more exciting to watch if the Blue Jays had a batting lineup that had Prince Fielder hitting 4th between Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.

Don’t tell me Edwin might not have gotten playing time with Fielder and Lind on the roster because he would have taken Lind’s job so quickly you would have forgotten Lind even started any games at the beginning of the season.

Until the end of July last season before everyone got hurt the Blue Jays were at least top 4 in runs scored for the majority of the season. Add Fielder to that and you’ve got a team that can put some “crooked” numbers on the score board.

People talk about the Angels having Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Mark Trumbo and the Dodgers having Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Either. A Blue Jays lineup that had Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Melky Cabrera and Prince Fielder would have been up there with any foursome in baseball right now.

Of course all these elite players fans wanted the Blue Jays to get last offseason don’t come cheap. Darvish costs 111.7 million between his posting fee and MLB contract.

Prince Fielder got a 9 year 214 million dollar contract.

It was reported that for the Blue Jays to acquire Gio Gonzalez from the Oakland Athletics they would have to give up Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick and Noah Syndergaard. The Blue Jays ended up giving up those players this offseason anyways making it one of the more realistic things they could have done last offseason.

The Blue Jays might have been able to make the playoffs or you would think at least be in a playoff race in September. We know for a fact the attendance would have sky rocketed because it did last season despite no playoff race. The attendance jump probably doesn’t cover those salaries. It does guarantee a sustained good attendance for the 2013 season following a playoff race season and for years after if the team stayed competitive. The Blue Jays would still have all those players for the next 5 – 8 years along with most of their core.

They’d still have a strong farm system. The only player on the team they’d be overpaying is Prince Fielder so it wouldn’t be crazy for them to still extend Edwin, sign Melky and trade for and extend R.A. Dickey. Especially with the Blue Jays showing this offseason that they’re willing to take on some big contracts like Buehrle and Reyes and still do more. Both of their contracts aren’t as long as Fielder’s but they’re still in the same price range in terms of annual pay.

Would the Blue Jays have contended and made the playoffs last season if they had made all those moves? Would the team still be set up as well to be a contender for a long time as they appear to be right now?

It’s arguable whether the current Blue Jays team is better than the Blue Jays team that could have been if the Blue Jays made all those acquisitions. We’ll never know. Just got to be lucky enough to stumble into a parallel universe where the Blue Jays make all those moves to find out.

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  • raffa

    I prefer the way things worked out.
    Jays kept their powder dry.
    The $$ and traded prospects got better mileage this year than if they would have spent it last year on one or more of the three you mention.
    Some of the injuries (e.g. Bautista, Morrow, relievers) would have made last year a futile year regardless.
    … in my opinion.
    We have a nice year to look forward to, don’t have any complete anchor contracts for longer term, get to draft 10th. Fielder seems to be getting heavier.

  • RyanMueller

    Good article. I am not sure that the Jays would still make the R.A. Dickey trade if these other guys were in the rotation last year.