Blue Jays: In hindsight, the worst trades that weren’t made
Hard one to criticize, but…
The Blue Jays won the 1993 World Series, so that is the ultimate trump card, and I’ll never believe they should have done something differently that year based on how it worked out in the end.
But man, this one was a doozy.
Back at the trade deadline in ’93, then-GM Pat Gillick was working on bolstering the team for an attempt at a championship repeat, and he managed to do that by bringing in Rickey Henderson to strengthen the outfield and lengthen the lineup. The Blue Jays traded young prospect Steve Karsay as the centrepiece, a move that worked out well for them.
That said, there was another deal on the table at the time with the Seattle Mariners. The trade would have brought Randy Johnson to Toronto, who was already a star in the big leagues, but hadn’t fully established his Hall of Fame resume yet. With all due respect to Ricky, landing Randy Johnson would have been a franchise altering move, and might have extended the Blue Jays’ championship window as Johnson was under contract control until 1998. More of the story can be found here, but the long and the short of it was that Gillick had a deal with the A’s for Henderson first, and kept to first word even after the Mariners agreed to send Johnson to Toronto.
Again, you can’t really criticize a trade that ultimately helped lead to the second championship in franchise history, but I don’t think you’d find a Blue Jays fan that wouldn’t have loved to see Johnson in Toronto.
On the plus side, Karsay didn’t turn into the rotation stud that everyone thought he would, so the Blue Jays didn’t get burned on both ends after Henderson left as a free agent. It all worked out just fine, even if it’s a tough one to think about.