March 31, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics former player Rickey Henderson throws out the ceremonial first pitch before an opening day baseball game against the Cleveland Indians at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
On July 31st of 1993, the Blue Jays picked up Rickey Henderson from the Oakland Athletics for yet another playoff run. That season, Henderson was hitting .327/.469/.553 with 17 HR and 31 stolen bases. He’d already been an All Star 10 times and would go on to steal 1406 bases in his 25 (!) year career. Henderson averaged 74 stolen bases per season. But, what did he bring to the Blue Jays? In 44 games, he made 203 plate appearances and hit .215. He did steal 22 bases. But, he only managed 3 doubles, a triple and 4 home runs. One could argue the impact of such a rental. Can we say the move worked since it helped lead to a World Series win?
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Was it worth giving up the package they did for the Blue Jays? Well, they gave up minor leaguers Steve Karsay and Jose Herrera. From 1995-1996, as an outfielder, Herrera played all of 141 games for the Athletics. He put up rather unremarkable numbers during his two year MLB career. The Blue Jays gave up a right handed pitcher in Karsay who was their 22nd overall pick in the 1990 draft. So, one could say the value was there. But, it didn’t really pan out for the A’s. In the two years following the deal, Karsay would start just 12 games in total, going 4-4. He missed all of 1995 being injured. It would happen again to Karsay in 2003.
All together, his career netted him 11 seasons, a 32-39 record and a 4.01 ERA. His best season came in 199 with the Indians where he went 10-2…as a reliever.
And, this was a 1st round draft pick that the Blue Jays gave up for a rental player. For this club, the deal looks pretty one sided. While you can question whether Henderson’s performance actually put the team over that hump to win that year, you can’t argue that the move is one they did not regret. They won their second World Series that year and gave up what appeared to be a lot, but ended up to be not much.
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