During the course of a franchise, every team is guilty of giving up on a player too early, which fans will later watch become a strong contributor on another team. The Blue Jays are no different.
With no news going on in Major League Baseball, I thought I would look at some of the players the Blue Jays had drafted and let go for nothing and turned into players on other teams. The four players I have chosen, have been drafted by the Blue Jays and were either released, exposed for the Rule 5 Draft or placed on waivers.
Looking back over the years, a few times the Blue Jays have drafted, developed and then released players just prior to them becoming stars.
The Blue Jays used the 15th overall pick in the 1993 MLB Draft, which was compensation from the Texas Rangers for signing Tom Henke, on Chris Carpenter. Carpenter had just turned 18 years old two months prior to the draft and would turn professional the following season. Over the next three seasons, Carpenter had a steady rise through the ranks and made his MLB debut as a 22-year old in May 1997. He made three appearances that month, however, after posting a 12.71 ERA over 11.1 innings, he was sent back down to Triple-A Syracuse. Carpenter would be recalled in July and finished the season with 11 starts posting a 3-5 record with 3.86 ERA, which earned him a spot in the rotation for the remainder of his Blue Jays career, when healthy.
During the 2001 season, it looked as though Carpenter had taken some giant steps and showed he may be the type of pitcher that could lead a team. He led the rotation in both innings pitched (215) and ERA (4.09), and with the emergence of Roy Halladay, it looked like the Blue Jays had a dynamic duo in the making.
Carpenter would be named the Opening Day starter in 2002 but after surrendering six runs in just 2.1 innings he was placed on the injured list (formerly known back then as the disabled list) and missed almost three weeks. In his next start, he was removed after the third inning and again found himself on the IL, which took over two months to return to the team. Carpenter would return in late June and make nine more starts, posting a 4.55 ERA before landing on the IL for the third time that season in mid-August which resulted in shoulder surgery.
At the conclusion of the campaign, the Blue Jays removed Carpenter from their roster and attempted to sign him to a minor league deal, however, he refused. He would sign on with the St. Louis Cardinals, who allowed him to heal in 2003 before becoming a dominant starter for them.
Carpenter would make it back to the major leagues in 2004 and for the next three seasons, he made two All-Star Appearances, won a Cy Young Award, finished third in Cy Young voting another year and posted a 51-18 record with a 3.10 ERA in 93 starts. Injuries would derail his 2007 and 2008 seasons but again returned in 2009, finishing second in Cy Young voting in 2010 while posting a 44-22 record with a 3.02 ERA over those three seasons.
Carpenter would retire after the 2013 season due to injuries, but over nine seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, he posted a 95-44 record with a 3.07 ERA and 1.125 WHIP.