With all of the talk about
Jeremy Jerome Williams and his resurgence with the Anaheim Angels, it’s time we re-live a franchise altering move, well, I should say one that wasn’t.
It seems like a long time ago (actually, it kind of is now…), but before Lincecum, before Cain, there was Ainsworth. There was Williams. There was Foppert. These were the guys that were supposed to be our Cain’s and Timmy’s before they ever came around. Looking back, maybe the Giants ended up fortunate that the three never panned out as it allowed them to be in a position to draft Cain and Lincecum which gave us the first World Series winner in San Francisco history, but we’ll look past that now for point of story.
On Baseball Today. Keith Law announced (scroll to about the 8:00 minute mark) that while he was working with the Toronto Blue Jays in the early 2000’s, the Jays actually offered Roy Halladay to San Francisco in exchange for the Giants top three pitching prospects: Jesse Foppert, Kurt Ainsworth and Jerome Williams. Given the highly touted projections of all three young Giant pitchers, the price was extremely high – it wouldn’t be much different than he Giants unloading their top three prospects for a 26 year old All-Star level pitcher right now. It’s understandable to not mortgage your future, or, what you assume as your future for one single player, but you wonder how things would have turned out with a Bonds/Schmidt/Halladay era for a few years.
Ainsworth, 24 at the time, was traded later in the season for Sidney Ponson of the Baltimore Orioles and was out of baseball in ’06. Foppert, who debuted for the Giants in ’03, was out of baseball by ’05. He compiled a career 8-9 record with a 5.00 ERA. Williams had a fantastic rookie season for the black and orange, but never could replicate anything similar, finally finding himself traded (along with David Aardsma) to the Chicago Cubs in 2005 for LaTroy Hawkins.
Law reported that the Jays offered Halladay early in the ’03 season when Roy was struggling mightily (Halladay had a 5+ ERA into May, didn’t drop below 4+ until mid June) an offer that Brian Sabean took back to his cronies and eventually declined the following day. Halladay proceeded to win fifteen straight decisions after the trade was declined and ended the season as the 2003 American League Cy Young winner. You know the rest.
I’m certainly not blasting Sabean for passing on the deal – the price was extremely high, but, it’s an interesting piece of little known history that would have altered the Giants franchise forever.