That's a question many Rangers fans might be asking after Shi Davidi of SportsNet Canada reported on Blue Jays deals that could have been, in a January 29 article.
A quiet off-season lacking in impact moves nearly played out vastly differently for the Toronto Blue Jays, who had separate trades for Ian Kinsler and Brett Anderson fall apart earlier this winter. A potential deal was scuttled by the three-time all-star’s no-trade clause, leaving the Rangers to look elsewhere.
What deal could have been in place had Kinsler agreed to go to Canada? Back in July of 2013, the Rangers had inquired to the Blue Jays about swapping players before the trade deadline hit. Baseball insider Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reported this via Twitter:
Rangers have continued to ask about Encarnacion and Bautista, but still appears that Blue Jays won't trade either one.— Danny Knobler (@DannyKnobler) July 31, 2013
Bautista would have filled the spot in right field for the suspended Nelson Cruz. The Rangers later went on to acquire Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox to play the position. In November of 2013, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe tweeted that teams had again been inquiring the Blue Jays about Bautista:
Not a shock: teams are inquiring about Toronto RF Jose Bautista— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) November 12, 2013
This was around the time that Cruz declined a qualifying offer, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. While it's now been documented that second baseman Kinsler waived his no-trade clause, the Blue Jays were actually looking for pitching help, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet Canada.
B/R's Chris Stephens saw the Rangers as suitors for Bautista as he highlighted potential trade pieces in his November 2013 article:
There's all the pitching the Rangers have. Out of all of their pitchers, Yu Darvish is the only real untouchable. But that leaves players like Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Neftali Feliz available for the taking.
A few players could easily be switched out in the deal, but Kinsler and either Holland or Harrison would have to be a part of any deal.
Was starting pitching a part of the vetoed deal with the Blue Jays? If so, Encarnacion could have also been involved as the Rangers were looking for first base help, as indicated by the Prince Fielder trade. And referring back to Knobler's tweet, the Rangers always had Encarnacion on their mind.
As the skies have almost finally cleared during this crazy offseason for the Rangers, two questions remain. Were the Rangers willing to part with Harrison or Holland? And if so, how would general manager Jon Daniels have built around Bautista and Encarnacion?
Who would you rather have recieved in an Ian Kinsler-headlined trade?
It has not been recorded that these players were involved in such a trade, but based off of the Blue Jays' needs and Rangers' history, it's more than likely.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.