Toronto Blue Jays: Missed Josh Donaldson trade opportunity a tough pill to swallow

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 25: Josh Donaldson
KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 25: Josh Donaldson /

Weeks after the Toronto Blue Jays traded Josh Donaldson to the Cleveland Indians, reports suggest that the St. Louis Cardinals had a better offer on the table in the offseason.

When an unpopular trade like the one involving the Toronto Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson is made, the worse thing that can happen is when reports surface of other offers available to the team.

It was reported that multiple teams were interested in Donaldson ahead of the waiver deadline and ultimately the team decided to pull the trigger on an offer from the Cleveland Indians. Many also knew that the St. Louis Cardinals were apparently trying to acquire the Bringer of Rain before the season started.

Well, it took some time but Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Blue Jays did, in fact, receive an offer from the Cardinals last offseason.

For those that don’t know much about Jack Flaherty, the right-hander was chosen by MLB Pipeline as the top pitcher in the Cardinals organization at the end of the 2017 season.

He earned a promotion last season making five starts, recording a 6.33 ERA, 20 strikeouts and holding batters to a .284 average over 21.1 innings. While that’s not a big sample size in the MLB, but put up more impressive numbers in the minor leagues and has carried that over when he made the move fulltime.

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So why exactly were the Cardinals looking to offload a top pitching prospect for Donaldson? A debate in St. Louis was whether Flaherty or Alex Reyes would get the promotion to the majors and since that was a position of strength it seemed like a gamble worth taking.

The other question people are probably wondering why didn’t the Blue Jays take the deal and what did they miss out on?

In 25 games this season, the 22-year-old is 8-7 with a 2.86 ERA, 168 strikeouts and holding batters to a .193 average over 138.1 innings. Eno Sarris of Fangraphs wrote that the issue Flaherty faced right off the start was his command as he allowed too many walks.

What makes him a highly touted pitcher was his slider something Sarris said had him in the same conversation as Clayton Kershaw because of how many batters whiffed on the pitch. The only pitch that seemed to be an issue was his changeup which was getting hit hard and not fooling batters.

Maybe the Blue Jays weren’t convinced that Flaherty’s slider was enough to make him a high calibre pitcher or enough to swing a deal for Donaldson. Maybe the team was holding out for a better offer while Donaldson tried to overcome a tough 2017 season.

It looks like that gamble was the wrong choice (if that’s the offer the Blue Jays got) unless Julian Merryweather (reportedly the PTBNL) ends up being an effective MLB pitcher.

Considering the team’s issues with the starting rotation this season, adding another option wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world. Fortunately for the Cardinals, they get a chance to make a playoff push while the Blue Jays try to pick up the pieces from another rough season.

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What do you think about the latest rumour about the offer the Cardinals made for Donaldson? Let us know in the comments below.