The Blue Jays were involved in some of the biggest trades of the offseason, but things could have played out differently had it not been for a last-minute extension between the White Sox and Jake Peavy. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes that the Blue Jays were close to acquiring Peavy from the White Sox prior to the signing of that two-year, $29MM extension.
The White Sox would've sent $4MM to Toronto along with Peavy in exchange for a player or players whose value exceeded a compensatory draft pick in the eyes of Chicago GM Rick Hahn. Effectively, the Jays were looking at getting Peavy on a one-year, $18MM. Presumably, this is the near-deal that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was referring to back in January.
Peavy himself acknowledged to Davidi that he had heard "some rumblings" about discussions between White Sox and another team, but went on to say that he wanted to remain in Chicago as he felt he had "unfinished business" with the South Siders.
Davidi notes that while the trade didn't end up going through, it helped to lay the groundwork for the Blue Jays' eventual blockbusters with the Marlins and Mets. Anthopoulos and president Paul Beeston had to obtain permission from ownership to exceed payroll to acquire Peavy, and that permission carried over into the eventual trades to acquire Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey.