It is Joey Hamilton's 43rd birthday today (it is also my middle son's birthday. It is nice of the Jays to have the day off so we can go out for supper and not miss the game. Happy Birthday Tommy).
Joey came to the Jays in one of the worst trades of the Gord Ash era. The Jays traded Woody Williams, Carlos Almanzar and Peter Tucci to get Joey from San Diego. Apparently Dave Stewart gave him a strong recommendation after coming to the Jays to be assistant GM having been the Padres pitching coach the season before. Stewart had played with Joey and saw something in his eyes or some stupid thing like that, and figured he would be a star. It does explain why Stewart wasn't promoted to GM.
In their defense, in his 4 full seasons with the Padres, Joey had averaged over 200 innings a season putting up a 55-44 record and a 3.83 ERA with them.
On the other hand, the season before the trade, Joey led the NL in walks, and he never did strikeout many. Ash should have been able to see that a pitcher that had a 1.39 strikeout to walk ratio didn't profile as someone that would do well in the AL East.
His first year as a Jay he went 7-8 with a 6.52 ERA in 18 starts. The next season, 2000, he was on the DL most of the year making only 6 starts for the team. In 2001 Joey was 5-8 with a 5.89 ERA when the team released him on August 3rd. It is tough to release a guy you are paying $7.25 million to, but JP had no trouble admitting Gord Ash's mistakes.
All in all the Jays paid $17 million for 14 wins. Not exactly what you would want from someone you figured would replace Roger Clemens.
"I think he's just coming into his own," Stewart said. "What I like about Joey is that he is a real, real strong competitor. And, I still think there's room for growth."
"We have in Joey Hamilton a pitcher who can go in the front end of our rotation," Toronto general manager Gord Ash said.
Woody Williams went on to win 104 more games in his career. Almanzar had a couple of decent seasons in an up and down career and Tucci never made the big leagues. And Gord Ash was fired.
Joey was picked up by the Reds and pitched there for the rest of the 2001 season, 2002 and made 3 appearances for them in 2003 before being let go. As a Red he went 5-12 with a 5.90 ERA in 46 games, 21 starts.
For his career he was 74-73 with a 4.44 ERA in 242 games, 209 starts, all in all a pretty good career, just that the good times happened before the Jays got him.
Anyway, Happy Birthday Joey. Hope it is a good one.