Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Rios/Lincecum trade-What could have been?

Two years ago, the San Francisco Giants & Toronto Blue Jays held intense trade talks in a deal that would have seen 2-time all-star Alex Rios on his way to the Bay Area and stud pitcher Tim Lincecum head north of the border. Had the two teams decided on the much talked about swap, just what could have been for the Jays?

At the time, several people argued Rios should stay in Canada. Others fawned over the idea of inserting the whiz kid Lincecum into the Jays rotation. The idea of trading these two straight up didn't see as one sided as it does now, with Rios coming off two solid campaign's for the Blue Birds, and Lincecum just getting his major league career underway. However, had Toronto General Manager J.P. Ricciardi executed the deal, he would've pulled off one of the greatest heists of this decade.

Lincecum, the 10th pick in the 2006 draft, went on to win the National League CY Young award last season, posting a scintillating 18-5 record to go along with a 2.62 E.R.A. and 265 strikeouts! Rios, meanwhile, had a decent '08, but nothing that stands out as being all-star worthy, which is what every bit of Lincecum will be in the next decade.

Knowing A.J. Burnett was likely to opt out of his contract after the '08 campaign, Toronto could have slid Lincecum comfortably installed Lincecum as the #2 starter, figuring Burnett would flee for greener pastures. With the Jays unsure if they'll be able to retain Roy Halladay after next year, Lincecum would have become the heir apparent as the ace of the staff.

Fortunately for the Giants, they saved themselves the massive embarrassment of this one sided deal. Unfortunately for Canada's team, Ricciardi wasn't able to land one of the greatest young pitching talents to come around in a while. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to unload the disappointing Rios.