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Today In Blue Jay History: David Cone Trade


Today in Jays history, back in 1992, the Jays traded for David Cone, sending Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson to the Mets for the rental player.

At the time we were first in the AL East, 2.5 games ahead of the Orioles (who had the Ripkens playing in the middle infield spots, Cal playing everyday, but not having a great year. He'd finish with a .251/..323/.366 line). We had a pretty good team, but the 5th starter spot had been a problem. Dave Stieb had the job, but he wasn't the pitcher he used to be, finishing 4-6 with a 5.04 ERA in 21 games, 14 starts. It would be hit last year as a Jay (well, he did get into a few games, trying to make a comeback, in 1998). Injuries ended his season in early August.

Doug Linton took over his spot, but he was pretty terrible. He had 3 starts, the first was good, 8 innings (who gives a spot starter 8 innings in his first start? Times were different back then.)and 2 earned for a win. In his other 2 starts he gave up 13 earned in 4.2 innings.

Cone was a huge upgrade. He made 7 starts (and pitched 2 innings of relief in the last game of the season, Cito wanted to get some work for his playoff starters before the playoffs). He went 4-3, with a 2.55 ERA. He made 2 starts in our 6 game ALCS win over the Oakland A's, pitching 8 innings, allowing just 1 run in game 2, then giving up 6 runs, 3 earned, in 4 innings of our game 5 loss. He worked on 3 days rest.

In our World Series win over the Braves, Cone had a no decision in game 2 win, giving up 4 runs, 3 earned, in 4.1 innings. In game 6, the game that got us our first trophy, he went 6 innings, allowing just 1 run. He left with a 2-1 lead but Tom Henke blew the save in the 9th. We got 2 runs in the 11th and Jimmy Key and Mike Timlin got through the bottom half of the inning, allowing one run.

After the season Cone signed a big contract with the Royals. We traded for him again at the start of the 1995 season, giving the Royals 3 prospects, none of whom turned into much. Then, at mid-season, we trading him off to the Yankees for 3 guys you've likely never heard of: Jason Jarvis, Mike Gordon and Marty Janzen. Well, maybe you remember Janzen, he pitched in 27 games for us, posting a 6.39 ERA.

Getting back to the original trade, we gave the Mets Ryan Thompson, who didn't turn out to be great, and Jeff Kent, who did turn out to be great. Kent hit 377 home runs, drove in 1522 RBI with a .290/.356/.500 over 17 seasons. He was NL MVP once, an All-Star 5 times and an irritant to Barry Bonds for several seasons (maybe his greatest accomplishment).

Kent turned out to be great, but I really can't complain about the trade, without it we might not have won that 1992 World Series and, who knows, without that one, maybe we wouldn't have won in 1993. Then what would we have to talk about? I'm not sure that Kent would have become the same player if he stayed a Jay. We had Roberto Alomar at second base, Kent wasn't going to move him, and we didn't have a lot of patience with young players back then. The trade worked out for everyone.