Missed on another star pitcher
Back in 2007 the Blue Jays had an exciting young outfielder by the name of Alex Rios who looked like he had the tools to be a perennial All-Star in the big leagues. He’d shown plenty of flashes of potential and looked to be on the cusp of a breakout, even earning two All-Star appearances and a contract extension of six years and 64 million from the Blue Jays in 2008. There was good reason to take a gamble on him at the time.
The Blue Jays weren’t the only organization that liked what they saw from Rios though, as there were reportedly discussions between the San Francisco Giants about the talented youngster. There were even rumours at the time that the deal being discussed included Tim Lincecum, who went on to be an ace in San Francisco for a few years, winning Cy Young Awards in 2008 and 2009, and was an All-Star every year from 2008-2011. If it hadn’t been Tim Lincecum, there’s a good chance it would have been Matt Cain, who was nearly as good.
Of course, the deal never came to fruition and Lincecum went on to be a crucial piece for the Giants on route to their championship teams in 2010, 2012, and 2014, although to a lesser extent later on as he battled injuries.
Rios had a decent career of his own, but never really blossomed into the player that he was back in 2007. After hitting .297 with 24 home runs, 85 RBI, and 17 stolen bases, he never again put together a campaign at quite that level. Eventually the Blue Jays allowed him to leave for nothing on the waiver wire when the White Sox claimed him, showing where things stood by the time he left.
Sometimes the trades you don’t make are the ones that sting the most. While we’ll never know for sure how close this one was to getting done, the rumours were strong enough to believe it was close, and many reports said the Blue Jays were the ones that walked away.