Blue Jays general manager Pat Gillick had two deals in place, one with the Oakland Athletics for Rickey Henderson. The other deal, the Seattle Mariners and the Blue Jays had a deal in place to send Randy Johnson to Toronto. Gillick wanted the left-handed pitcher badly, but he couldn’t find Mariners general manager Woody Woodward. Interestingly enough, Woodward was out golfing.
Despite losing out on Randy Johnson, the Blue Jays landed Henderson and went on to repeat as World Series champions. But still, the idea of acquiring the “Big Unit” and having him on the roster until 1998 would have been better.
Ryan Howard for Ted Lilly
The Blue Jays could have had David Wright. Did you know that they could have had Ryan Howard too? In 2005, the Philadelphia Phillies had future Hall of Famer Jim Thome at first base. The Phillies reportedly offered their prospect to the Blue Jays for serviceable pitcher Ted Lilly.
However, Ricciardi and his stubborn ways refused to make the deal. Lilly was under contract for another year and Riccardi believed the lefty would be a cornerstone for a young team. Eventually, Ryan would get called up, winning the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2008 World Series. As for Lilly, he left for the Chicago Cubs after the 2007 season.