Tony Fernández (1993)
After trading Tony Fernández along with Fred McGriff in the 1990 offseason blockbuster that brought in Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar, the Jays never really had an adequate replacement at the shortstop position for the next few years. They desperately tried the likes of Manuel Lee, Rene Gonzales, Alfredo Griffin and Dick Schofield, but none of them provided the steady mix of stellar defence and solid offence that Fernández consistently gave to the team.
As a result, Fernández was reacquired from the New York Mets to help revamp the team’s infield defence, along with reinserting Fernandez’s consistent bat into their everyday lineup. This actually happened a little before the trade deadline, but because this critical move by the Jays led to drastic improvements in an area that they were severely lacking, it certainly felt like a deadline-altering move by the ballclub.
With the return of Fernández, Jays’ fans were all excited to see his swift-throwing steady defence once again, as he committed only seven errors the rest of the way for a .985 fielding percentage. Not only that, he helped contribute offensively as well, chipping in with 45 runs scored, 18 doubles, nine triples, four home runs, 50 RBI, 15 stolen bases, 31 walks and just 26 strikeouts, all while batting a solid .306 with an .803 OPS. In doing so, the Jays were able to make the postseason for the third consecutive year and ultimately the World Series for a second straight year.
Unfortunately after that year, it would take more than two decades later before the Jays acquired any player of significance that actually helped them reach the playoffs once again.