In a rather disappointing development for Blue Jays fans, it is being reported that St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty would’ve been one of the major pieces coming to Toronto had the Jays accepted a deal to send Josh Donaldson to St. Louis.
Nightengale notes that the Jays “turned down” the proposal, which would’ve also sent an additional piece, per his source.
The Cardinals were long suggested as a possible landing spot for Donaldson, being noted as a major player for his services as early as this winter. Before being dealt to Cleveland, the Cardinals frequently came up in rumours and negotiations.
Naturally, it’s logical to be upset by this reported news. Flaherty, 22, has been phenomenal this season, pitching to a stellar 2.92 ERA in 132.1 innings, striking out 160 while walking just 50. As of this writing, he leads all rookie pitchers in strikeouts, while placing third among them in innings pitched and games started.
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A first round pick in the 2014 draft, Flaherty exploded onto the scene this season after a dominant 2017 season split between the Cardinals’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates.
At this point, it’s important to remember that hindsight is, frustratingly, always clearer than initial perception. Yes, it would’ve been incredible for the Blue Jays to nab Flaherty from the desperate Cards in the offseason, but as general manager Ross Atkins has alluded to on multiple occasions, the team just wasn’t ready to deal the 2015 AL MVP.
Since his arrival in Cleveland, Donaldson has mashed a home run in nine at-bats, striking out twice and scoring a single run. His season’s slash line now stands at .233/.327/.432 in 146 ABs.
As mentioned above, this new report represents a staggeringly unfortunate reality for the Blue Jays. It’s clear that they could have gotten more for Donaldson had they dealt him before the season started, but doing so would’ve drastically altered the now-defunct plan for the 2018 season. While Blue Jays fans are sure to criticize the front office for not making the move as presented, it surely was one of many possible trade options presented to them this winter.