Earlier today, in Sam Miller’s ever awesome Annotated Box Score, the Getting Blanked contributor noted that Robinson Cano has the best chance of surpassing Jim Edmonds as the best player ever not to be listed in Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list. One of our blog’s brilliant commenters, Ty, reminded/informed us that Cano was part of a list of Minor Leaguers given to the Texas Rangers to choose a player from that would be included in the Alex Rodriguez/Alfonso Soriano trade.

Miller confirmed the story, linking to this quote from Jim Callis in a River Ave Blues blog post:

Though initial speculation was that New York would give up a pitching prospect, baseball sources say the five-man list contains four hitters, including outfielder Rudy Guillen, shortstop Joaquin Arias and second baseman Robinson Cano, as well as righthander Ramon Ramirez.

Of course, the Rangers picked Joaquin Arias instead, and Cano went on to become one of the best second baseman in baseball.

The story reminded me of the many trades that never were in Blue Jays history.

There was the Tim Lincecum for Alex Rios trade that was rumoured for a couple of days during the 2007 Winter Meetings. Without any evidence, I am entirely certain that when J.P. Ricciardi readily agreed to the deal, Brian Sabean requested some time to figure it out, leaked it to the media and then thought better of it when everyone with a blog, column and radio spot called him an idiot for even considering it.

Even more infamous was a proposed deal at the 2002 trade deadline that would’ve sent prospect David Wright to the Blue Jays for impending free agent Jose Cruz Jr. Ricciardi, clearly unfamiliar with Wright’s potential rolled his eyes at the offer, suggesting that Cruz was a Major Leaguer and he wasn’t about to let him go for a player in the Sally Leagues.

Batter’s Box looked at this same issue a few weeks ago on the anniversary of the biggest trade in baseball history not to happen.

March 28, 1976 – Media sources report a potential blockbuster between the Mets and Dodgers involving two future Hall of Famers. The deal would send Tom Seaver to LA in exchange for Don Sutton. Mets fans respond negatively and perhaps influence the deal. The trade is called off and Seaver will remain in New York until 1977 when he is sent to Cincinnati.

These types of rumoured deals tend to be best remembered by fans of the teams involved and often forgotten by everyone else. So, I’ll lean on you guys a little bit here. What’s the biggest rumoured trade you remember that never happened?

Comments (24)

  1. I seem to remember that J.P. Ricciardi could have had Matt Cain for Alex Rios, but he really only wanted Lincecum so they deal died.

    Also, I could be completely wrong about this, but does anyone else remember the rumour that the Phillies would’ve sent a young Ryan Howard to Toronto for Ted Lilly? (During 2006 I think.)

  2. Hahahahaha. Awesome. This is exactly what I’m looking for. Good stuff, Votto.

  3. Heh, just beat you to it on Howard for Lilly.

    I remember reading reports about the Rios-Lincecum swap that said that the Giants were holding off at the end for the Jays to add in one more piece, with Curtis Thigpen and Robinson Diaz being the two names I remember.

    • Someone on Twitter brought up the Rodriguez for Ramirez deal that almost went down. Didn’t MLB or MLBPA not like the Red Sox restructuring of A-Rod’s deal?

  4. Before the Howard-for-Lilly rumors, there were Howard-for-Kris Benson rumors. As a Phillies fan… *wipes brow* …phew.

  5. Can’t find what the terms of the deal were, but Dennis Martinez almost got traded to the Braves in 1993, but he ended up vetoing it.

  6. @Dustin Yeah, the MLBPA said no to the deal because A-Rod was going to give up too much money to facilitate the trade.

  7. @ Bill: But at least the rotation would’ve been fortified for several years.

    @ Dougie: Awesome.

  8. @Bill Baer It’s true, you definitely get the impression from reading stuff from back then that the Phillies were very willing to deal Howard. It probably had a lot to do with them having Thome at the time, but probably also shows that nobody – from the Phillies to other teams – expected Howard would turn into what he did.

  9. How about the rumoured Lyle Overbay for Raul Ibanez deal at the 2008 trade deadline?

  10. Vernon Wells + Contract to the Angels for Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli..

    Could you imagine how stupid Tony Reagins would feel right now if that deal actually went through??

    Really dodge a bullet there

  11. I had originally thought the Howard for Lilly trade would be considered lopsided in retrospect — probably worth noting that (BBRef) Howard’s WAR averaged about 3.1 for 2007-10, while Lilly’s averaged about 3.4.

  12. I remember a few years back the rumor was the Yanks wanted Cory Lidle (RIP) from the Jays when he was like 10-0 at the allstar break.

    I think the deal was Cano for Lidle… and the Jays declined.

    Anyone else remember this?

  13. @QJays: That’s amazing. And the Phillies have the added bonus of being unlikely to have given Lilly such a monstrous contract.

    @Andrew: I don’t remember that one at all. But a lot of these are news to me as well.

    Anyone remember Marty York’s amazing scoops. Didn’t he say Clemens was coming back to Toronto at one point?

  14. @Andrew: I remember that! Lidle was on fire and the Yankees were desperate.

  15. I recall reading in 1993 the backup plan to the Ricky Henderson trade, was a trade that would have brought Randy Johnson to the Jays. It all worked out in the end with World Series win number two.

  16. @QJays – to me that’s an indication of the limits of WAR. I mean, if you think Ted Lilly and Ryan Howard are roughly equivalent players I’ve got a bridge to sell you…

  17. Well, Fangraphs sees it slightly differently, with Howard edging Lilly over that period 14 WAR to 12.5. The time period, of course, excludes Howard’s best season (’06), but, interestingly, looking at their careers, they’ve both put up 23.1 WAR (as per Fangraphs). Of course, Howard did that in seven seasons (plus ’11), while Lilly’s had 12 seasons (plus ’11) to put up the same numbers.

    There’s no arguing they’ve been similarly valuable over the last few years, though.

  18. How about you read the article before you comment?

  19. Read it Simon, just providing some linkage.

  20. Cool Jays-related trade story that Joe Carter told a year or two back when he was a guest in the broadcast booth:

    It was the year the Jays hosted the All-Star game, and Tony Gwynn Jr.’s name had been floated around a bunch in rumours, but he had a no-trade clause in his contract. One of the teams on the no-trade list happened to be Toronto.

    However, after coming to play in the city for the ASG and being shown around by Carter and some of the other guys he told his manager to take Toronto off the no-trade list because he enjoyed the city so much.

    Obviously nothing ever came from it, but it was still a pretty cool story, especially having Carter tell it.

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