Top 5 players the Toronto Blue Jays gave up on too soon

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays - Rowdy Tellez
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays - Rowdy Tellez / Joshua Bessex/GettyImages
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No. 2: Jeff Kent

Most people would probably rank this as the No. 1 player that got away from the Jays, but here we have slotted Jeff Kent into the No. 2 position based on the impact the other player had, but we'll get to that.  At the time, Kent was an upcoming, exciting prospect that was thought to be the heir to Kelly Gruber at third base for the Jays, since Roberto Alomar had firmly cemented his position at second base.  For the 1992 season, Kent had finally made the team and found some playing time at both second and third base due to given opportunities and injuries.

However, with the Jays gearing up for a championship run and a chance to strengthen their starting rotation, Kent was traded to the New York Mets in exchange for David Cone.  From there on, he would establish himself to be one of the premium second basemen in the game for the next decade and a half, averaging over 20 home runs, 90 RBIs, and hitting close to .290 each season. 

Who knows what kind of an effect Kent may have had with the Jays, but the Jays did not have a stalwart second basemen after the departure of Alomar, until Aaron Hill arrived on the scene in the mid 2000s.  But the one consolation prize coming out of it was at least Cone helped lead the Jays to their first ever World Series championship, making it at least a little more worth it.

No. 1: Chris Carpenter

Sitting at No. 1 may come to a surprise to many, but here we have Chris Carpenter, a former projected ace starter for the Blue Jays.  He probably wouldn’t normally be considered a player that had gotten away too fast because after all, he did spend over five seasons with the Jays.  But it’s what he accomplished after his tenure in Toronto that make him undoubtedly the top player the club should have kept around for longer.

Carpenter’s time with the Jays was often plagued by injuries and inconsistency.  As an upcoming, projected front-line starter, he never ended up displaying such potential with the Jays, pitching to an ERA of over 4.00 and WHIP of over 1.35 in each of his active years with the team.  Eventually, he was let go after 2002, and the St. Louis Cardinals kindly took a chance and picked him up.

From there, Carpenter would go on to become the Cardinals’ ace for the next decade, despite encountering some on and off injury issues along the way as well. With the Cardinals, Carpenter added three All-Star appearances, two World Series rings, and one NL Cy Young Award to his career resume.  What hurts even more was that he accomplished all of this during the years when the Jays had the late Roy Halladay in his prime.  Had the Jays chosen to gamble and kept Carpenter, both Halladay and Carpenter may have formed a strong one-two punch during the 2000s for the Jays and who knows how much success and potential championship runs they may have put together.

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