Blue Jays: 10 stars the club missed out on that would've changed franchise history
By Edward Eng
Back in 1997, the Blue Jays had acquired an up-and-coming ballplayer in José Cruz Jr. from the Mariners, in exchange for Paul Spoljaric and Mike Timlin. From there, Cruz rapidly improved his play over the next few years, including producing a 34 HR, 88 RBI campaign in 2001 to go along with 32 stolen bases. This had caught the eye of the New York Mets’ management in 2002, and they were interested in acquiring Cruz by offering up a promising young prospect in David Wright. However, Cruz was highly regarded by Jays’ GM J.P. Ricciardi at the time and felt that the trade offer was quite lopsided, hence was unwilling to make the move.
Cruz would eventually leave the Jays following the 2002 season by signing with the San Francisco Giants through free agency, whereas Wright would go on to become a major contributor to the Mets’ franchise both offensively and defensively for the next decade. The Jays had the likes of Eric Hinske, Corey Koskie and Shea Hillenbrand man third base during the same era, but none of them were anything close to what Wright could have brought to the ballclub, who definitely would have been a huge difference maker during the early parts of the late Roy Halladay’s prime years.