Inside what went wrong with the Blue Jays’ offseason
Might the perspective on the Toronto Blue Jays be different if the team had completed two trades earlier this offseason? Yes, but virtually every club can look back on failed moves and take the same view on what might have been.
The Blue Jays had separate trades fall apart for second baseman Ian Kinsler and left-hander Brett Anderson, according to a report Wednesday night from SportsNet’s Shi Davidi.
The unsuccessful deal for Anderson was not exactly news – Jon Paul Morosi and I reported in December that the Jays had agreed on a three-team trade that would have sent right-hander Sergio Santos to the Texas Rangers but that another player in the trade had failed the physical.
That player, according to a later report from the Boston Globe, was Anderson, whom the Athletics subsequently traded to the Colorado Rockies for left-hander Drew Pomeranz and righty Chris Jensen.
The Kinsler talks, on the other hand, had not been previously reported. And while Davidi reported that the discussions were "scuttled" by Kinsler’s no-trade clause, the Rangers never actually asked Kinsler to approve a deal, major league sources said.
Kinsler, entering the second year of a five-year, $75 million contract, must submit the teams on his limited no-trade list by Nov. 1. The Jays pursued him in October but determined that it would be "pointless" to continue discussions after learning that they were on Kinsler’s list, one source said. The previous year, reliever Koji Uehara had invoked his no-trade rights to reject a deal from the Rangers to the Jays.
As for the players whom the Rangers would have received from the Jays for Kinsler, sources offer conflicting accounts.
The Rangers had targeted Toronto first baseman Edwin Encarnacion early in the offseason and later sent Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers – a team not on his no-trade list – for first baseman Prince Fielder. But the Jays would not move Encarnacion, sources said.
Santos was part of the Kinsler discussions, as was left-hander Ricky Romero, according to one source. The Rangers’ goal in such a trade was to clear the remaining $62 million on Kinsler’s contract to pursue other moves, that source said.
But the Rangers, with their acquisition of Fielder, demonstrated they were not trying to save money by trading Kinsler; they added $76 million in the exchange with the Tigers and later signed free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo for $130 million.
Santos, an oft-injured reliever, and Romero, a starter who spent most of last season in the minors, would not have been nearly enough for Kinsler. In any case, the talks stalled, and the Rangers eventually found a better fit.
The Jays, meanwhile, are still waiting to make their first big offseason move. The team has signed free-agent catcher Dioner Navarro and acquired catcher Erik Kratz and left-hander Rob Rasmussen for righty Brad Lincoln but is still trying to address its starting rotation, as I detailed Wednesday.