Every few months or so, I think about Game 6 of the 2015 ALCS. I remember how the Blue Jays had the tying run on third base with nobody out in the top of the ninth. I replay that game in my head and wonder if that inning played out 100 different times, how many scenarios had the Blue Jays winning the game.
In an alternate timeline, the Blue Jays take that game and send the series to a seventh and deciding game with Marcus Stroman getting the start and then who knows what happens. But it didn’t. The Blue Jays lost Game 6 and went home, while the Kansas City Royals went on to win the World Series.
A big reason why the Royals got to the World Series was Ben Zobrist. The multi-positional threat was one of the most coveted players at the 2015 trade deadline. The Royals hauled him in from the Oakland A’s, but what if the Blue Jays made a play for Zobrist?
They almost did … and it still haunts Alex Anthopoulos to this day.
With AA’s Atlanta Braves team in town for a short two-game series, it’s an opportune time to remind everyone that the Blue Jays did indeed have a deal on the table for Zobrist. Earlier this year, Anthopoulos explained to MLB Network radio how Zobrist was the one that got away at the 2015 trade deadline.
In Toronto, my one regret is we had a deal lined up for Ben Zobrist. We didn’t want to move guys like Rowdy Tellez and so on that would’ve been add-ons to the deal because we had Encarnacion and Bautista scheduled to be free agents.
We didn’t make that deal and in hindsight, maybe if we added him, we get to the World Series.
Looking back now, that deal seems like a no-brainer because the prospect Anthopoulos agonized over giving up was Rowdy Tellez. His rationale for hanging onto Tellez makes sense, BUT ZOBRIST!
Can you imagine a deadline where the Blue Jays picked up Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe, LaTroy Hawkins AND Ben Zobrist? Man, what could’ve been.
I more tend to look back on some missed opportunities that didn’t show up in trades. I wish we would’ve got Ben Zobrist at the trade deadline. We had an opportunity to get him; Tellez was the add-on piece that we needed to put into the deal. He was a guy whose on base skills and power we wanted to hang onto.
I think back and say ‘wow, if we would’ve gotten (Zobrist), how does that change the fortunes of the Royals, how does it change for us. You can do that and drive yourself nuts. Those are the types of things I spend the most time on.
It’s hard to argue with Alex on that one. The 2015 Blue Jays won 93 games as-is, but with Zobrist on that roster, maybe the Jays win a few more games and secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. And by adding Zobrist to the Blue Jays roster, it means the Royals wouldn’t have … which leads to navel-gazing about all kinds of ways the 2015 ALCS could’ve played out differently.
For example, what if Zobrist doesn’t hit that stupid pop-up in Game 2 that landed in the Bermuda triangle between Ryan Goins and Jose Bautista and the Royals don’t rally for five runs in the seventh to win that game?
In reality, Zobrist was one of the Royals’ best hitters during the ALCS, going 8 for 25 in the series with five extra-base hits. But damn it, he should’ve been a Blue Jay.