Blue Jays: 10 stars the club missed out on that would've changed franchise history
By Edward Eng
Earlier this year, Cincinnati Reds’ general manager Nick Krall had mentioned that if his team was out of playoff contention by the time the 2023 trade deadline approached, he would consider trading Joey Votto to his hometown team the Toronto Blue Jays if he requested it. Whether that will come to fruition down the road is anyone’s guess, but this hasn’t been the first time the name of a notable star player was being linked to the Jays. As a matter of fact, there were many instances in the past in which the Jays came close to acquiring or signing a star-caliber, game-changing player, but ultimately failed to do so.
Here, we will take a look at 10 players from the past that almost became a Blue Jay but, to the disappointment of Jays’ fans, never worked out in the end. To be considered on this list, the player must be someone the Jays tried to either sign or acquire through a trade, and had never played in the Jays’ organization at any level.
Can anyone believe that the Jays’ at one time could have acquired “the Big Unit”, Hall of Famer Randy Johnson? It sure came very close back in 1993, when the Jays were deep in the pennant race, and looking to add a late season upgrade to bolster their chances for the playoffs. They were in talks with the Oakland Athletics on Rickey Henderson, the MLB all-time leader in stolen bases, and at the same time, the Seattle Mariners on Randy Johnson. In return, both teams focused on the centerpiece in Steve Karsay, a top Jays' prospect at the time.
Because the Mariners’ GM Woody Woodward was away from the phone golfing at a particular crucial moment in time, the Jays ended up securing the services of Rickey Henderson for the World Series run, but mainly as a rental player. Henderson didn’t end up helping that much in the regular season or the postseason, as he hit .227 in the World Series, with five walks and only one stolen base. But he did score on what eventually became the series winning home run for the ages by Joe Carter, so there was that memory to keep. However, had the Jays acquired Johnson instead, he could have been a key cornerstone for the franchise, and could have led to more successful years than the quick downfall the Jays had after their 1993 championship winning season.