After a healthy five hours or so of speculation, it looks like Michael Saunders is still with the Blue Jays, Jay Bruce is still with the Reds, and those mysterious "prospects" are still with the Angels. Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan reported just after midnight that the trade hit a snag after the teams traded medical reports, specifically that the concerns were about someone other than Jay Bruce.
Source: Talks are on hold in the potential Jay Bruce deal. Players were agreed upon, but issue came up with a non-Bruce player's medicals.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 23, 2016
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick was the first to name Saunders as the player with the possible medical issue, but it was probably clear to most Blue Jays fans. Saunders was the only other named player and has had a long history of injuries, including one that resulted in the removal of the meniscus in his left knee last season.
Although some may be thrilled that this trade fell through, it is worrisome that the condition of Saunders' knees is bad enough for the trade to be nixed at the eleventh hour (Eastern Time). We can only hope that the Angels' medical team is more sensitive to the issue than the physicians who have actually seen his knees, or that they suddenly got cold feet about the trade.
One thing to consider about this non-deal is that the Blue Jays seemed to have been ready to acquire a player who is owed $12.5 million this season, almost $10 million more than the $2.9 million owed to Saunders. The assumption going into spring training was that the club was close to its payroll limit, but perhaps this move shows that there might be some significant room for in-season acquisitions.
On to day two of spring training!
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported Tuesday morning that the medicals surrounding a Blue Jays minor leaguer (not yours truly) was what was holding up the trade. As of last night we were not aware that the Blue Jays were going to part with more than Saunders.
Source: Medical concerns in Bruce deal involved #BlueJays minor leaguer, not Saunders. Player presumably was going to CIN. Trade off for now— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 23, 2016
The presence of this "minor leaguer" is intriguing, as it may hint that other somewhat significant pieces (including the possibility of cash movement) may have been in play other than the principals that were discussed last night. The fact that a minor leaguer's medicals held up this entire trade perhaps hints that he is an integral part of the trade discussions--if it was just a throw-in, one would assume that a quick substitution could be made.