Back when names were first being speculated upon in the Roy Halladay trade among the Jays, Phillies and M's, righthander Brandon Morrow was one of the targeted pitchers that was bandied about as being in the mix. When all the trade dust had settled, it turned out, at the time, there was, in fact, no direct movement between the M's and Jays, making it more a case of the Phillies making two separate trades than a classic three-way deal.
But on Tuesday, as soon as the results of the medicals are confirmed and approved, Morrow will be a Blue Jay and the uneven Brandon League will become a Mariner. The Jays will send one more player in the transaction.
Morrow, 25, is the type of player that the Jays needed as part of the Halladay package. It now makes more sense. He is a talented youngster that has already been in the majors and can help the team in 2010. It's something that was missing in the original package.
The Jays also seem to be making up for lost time (and draft picks) they experienced in 2006, coming off a four-year ago winter in which they had signed A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan as free agents, forcing the team to offer draft choice compensation to the O's and Marlins. The Jays had only one selection in the first 119 picks of the June 2006 draft. That was an aberration for a team that insised it was to be built on scouting and player development.
It was high school outfielder Travis Snider, chosen 14th overall. Morrow in that same draft was the fifth overall selection (June 2006) as a Cal (Berkeley) Golden Bear. He was chosen by the M's two spots behind Rays' third baseman Evan Longoria and six ahead of NL Cy Young Award winner, Tim Lincecum of the Giants. Righthander Luke Hochevar was the first overall pick that year by the Royals.
Despite having only that Snider pick in the first 119 choices of '06, the Jays now have reached out for Morrow (5th overall) and righthander Kyle Drabek (18th overall), one of the two key players obtained for Halladay. The other was hitter Brett Wallace from the A's, in the flip for outfielder Michael Taylor.
The Jays now have three of the top 18 picks in the June '06 draft and have openly coveted others. They wanted Clayton Kerhaw (#7) from the Dodgers. They wanted Joba Chamberlain (#41) from the Yankees. They talked about Daniel Bard (#28) from the Red Sox.
As a side note, the Marlins used the sandwich pick from the Jays in '06 awarded for A.J. Burnett to draft 2009 NL Rookie of the Year, left fielder Chris Coghlan.
In hindsight, the Jays in that winter of 2005-06, signing Burnett and Ryan and trading for Lyle Overbay, were clearly targeting two years down the road, 2008, as their contending season. GM Alex Anthopoulos now is going back in time and re-capturing that draft via trades and looking ahead more realistically.