Most Toronto Blue Jays fans and pundits were obviously unhappy with the small return they got from the Cleveland Indians for Josh Donaldson, and it turns out they had a much better trade offer in the winter.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the St. Louis Cardinals offered two players for Donaldson during the winter, and one of them was 2018 NL Rookie of the Year candidate Jack Flaherty.
The greatest thing to happen to the #Stlcards was the #Bluejays’ rejection of the Cards’ trade proposal this winter for Josh Donaldson. They offered two players, a Jays official said, that included rookie of year candidate Jack Flaherty. The Jays turned it down.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) September 14, 2018
Instead, the Blue Jays held onto Donaldson in hopes of competing for a playoff spot, and it turned out to be a giant mistake. Donaldson was sidelined for three months because of a calf injury, giving them no choice but to deal the 2015 AL MVP for a minimal return - a player to be named later.
Reports suggest the player to be named later is minor league pitcher Julian Merryweather, who hasn't pitched this year because of Tommy John surgery. Certainly not as good as the return St. Louis was offering.
Flaherty has eight wins on the season and has an ERA of 2.86, with a whopping 168 strikeouts in 138.1 innings pitched. He's been instrumental in the Cardinals' second half surge, one that will likely see them play in the NL Wild Card Game.
The 23-year-old Flaherty has filled in nicely for a St. Louis pitching staff that has spent most of the season without Adam Wainwright. Meanwhile, 14 different pitchers have started a game for the Blue Jays this season. Imagine what Flaherty could have done to help a pitching staff marred by injuries, most namely to Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez.
Many have been critical of the Blue Jays front office, due to a failed series of trades and free agent signings. Botching the Donaldson move was among the most questionable decisions in franchise history.
It doesn't help that they passed on a young pitcher just entering his prime years.