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Happy Birthday Dan Plesac

Dan Plesac

Former long time MLB reliever and former two term Blue Jay, Dan Plesac turns 57 today.

Plesac had an 18-year MLB career, pitching in 1064 games (all but 14 as a reliever). He finished with a 3.64 ERA and 158 saves. He spent 5 seasons as a closer, at the start of his career, for the Brewers. In 1989 he set a career high with 33 saves and a career low with a 2.35 ERA.

Most of the rest of his career he was a setup man or a LOOGY.

He played 5 seasons with the Jays, in two stints: 1997-1999 and 2001-2002. In total he had a 4.21 ERA in 262 games, with 6 saves. His first go with the is the interesting one, or at least the trade that brought him to us was interesting.

Back on November 14, 1996 the Jays traded for Plesac, Carlos Garcia and Orlando Merced from the Pirates. Going to Pittsburgh were Brandon Cromer, Jose Pett, Jose Silva, Mike Halperin (none of whom turned out to be major leaguers), Abraham Nunez and Craig Wilson (who turned out to be major leaguers, good major leaguers).

You see in 1996, the Jays finished 74-88, good for 4th in the AL East, 18 games back. GM Gord Ash figured the way to jump that team into contention was to grab a rather average second baseman, a slightly above average right fielder/first baseman and a lefty reliever.

It didn’t work (surprise). In 1997 we finished 5th, 22 games back.

Carlos Garcia didn’t turn out to be the second baseman we needed. He played 103 games, hit .200/.253/.309 with 3 home runs. Baseball Reference had him at a -2.0 WAR. Not the type of season you want just before becoming a free agent. After the season he signed with the Angels, and would play 25 more MLB games.

Orlando Mercid would be better (tough to be worse). He hit .266/.352/.413 in 98 games playing right field. Good for a 2.5 bWAR. After the season he would sign with the Twins as a free agent. He’d play 6 more seasons.

Plesac didn’t want to come to the Jays and threatened not to report (can you imagine preferring Pittsburgh to Toronto?), but he was finally talked into it. Perhaps someone explained that he got a lot a money for throwing a few pitches per appearance.

Dan had two good seasons with us, pitching in 151 games, almost half of our games, putting up a 3.68 ERA in 100.1 innings, with 116 strikeouts and 35 walks. He had a bad start to 1999, putting up an 8.34 ERA in 30 games with us and we traded him for Tony Batista and John Frascatore (a much more successful trade).

He’d come back signing as a free agent before the 2001 season. He pitched in 63 games, in 2001, with a 3.57 ERA. 2002 started well, he had a 3.38 ERA after 19 games and then was traded to the Phillies for Cliff Politte, a right-handed reliever.

The guys going to the Pirates? Well, as mentioned above, four of them didn’t didn’t make the majors. The other two:

Craig Wilson would play 7 MLB seasons, hit .262/.353/.474 with 99 home runs in 698 games. In total a 3.5 bWAR. He played corner outfield, first base and catcher.

Abraham Nunez would play 12 MLB seasons, 8 of them with the Pirates. He would hit .242/.313/.314 in 1030 games split evenly between third, short and second.

It wasn’t a good trade, but then we didn’t trade away future Hall of Famers. Really it was one of those rather silly trades that really never had a chance of working. And we moved a number of prospects for players who weren’t going to move us up the standings even if they had their best possible seasons. We should have been rebuilding, instead we sent off 7 prospects for 2 guys going into their free agent seasons and a 35-year-old lefty reliever.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Dan I hope it is a good one.

Former Blue Jays right-handed reliever John Fascatore turns 49 today.

John, as mentioned above, came over from the Diamondbacks (along with Tony Batista) for Dan Plesac on June 12 of 1999. John was a right-handed reliever.

He spent 3 seasons with the Jays, pitching in 105 games. He has a 10-5 record and a 4.42 ERA. After the 2001 season he was out of baseball.

In all he pitched 7 seasons in the majors. 274 games, 5 starts, 4.00 ERA. I remember him being a favorite of mine. In 1999, he had a 7-1 record with a 3.41 ERA, quite a few vultures wins), in just 33 appearances. We had a pretty bad team and John tended to be used in games we were losing.

Happy Birthday John

Brad Cornett turns 50. You can be forgiven for not remembering him, he pitched in 14 games, split between 1994 and 1995 and had a 7.00 ERA in 36 innings.

Gary Allenson turns 64 today. He was a free agent signing before the 1985 season. He played in 14 games and was released, with a .118/.118/.147 batting line. It was the last season of his 7 year career. A catcher, he played for the Red Sox his other 6 seasons. Career he hit .221/.307/.325 as a (mostly backup) catcher.

Happy Birthday Brad and Gary.