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Today in Blue Jay History: Jays Trade For Tom Candiotti

Detroit Tigers vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Without the trade for Candiotti we wouldn’t have drafted Shannon Stewart.

32 Years Ago

When I was young, my parents would take about something that happened 30 years ago, and I couldn’t imagine how anyone could be old enough to remember that far back. I’m so old.

The Blue Jays made a big trade. They sent Denis Boucher, Glenallen Hill, Mark Whiten, and some cash to Cleveland for Tom Candiotti and Turner Ward.

At the time of the trade, the Jays were in first place in the AL East and wanted another proven arm for their rotation. Tom Candiotti was a right-handed starter, a knuckleball pitcher, who also had a good curve and a decent fastball (for a knuckleball pitcher). When we traded for him, Tom had a 2.24 ERA and a 7-6 record, in 15 starts, with Cleveland. He went 6-7 with the Jays, with a 2.98 ERA in 19 starts. It is hard to understand how he had a losing record with such a low ERA when we had a terrific offense. But we didn’t seem to score for the guy.

We lost out to the Twins in the ALCS, four games to one. Candiotti didn’t help us. He started and lost game 1, going just 2.2 innings and giving up 8 hits and 5 earned runs. He got the start in game five as well, doing some better, 5 innings, 9 hits, 4 runs, 2 earned. When Cito Gaston took him out, we were up by 3, but he left 2 runners on with no outs. Mike Timlin let the inherited runs score and another run to have the Twins tie it. Duane Ward gave up 3 runs in the 8th to take the loss.

Candiotti was just a rental. We got two compensation picks for him when he left as a free agent. One of the picks turned into Brandon Cromer, a shortstop, who never made it to the majors, but we got Shannon Stewart with the other. Stewart played with us for ten seasons, putting up a .298/.365/.440 line in 907 games. That line was marred by his late-career return to us in 2008. Stewart’s on our top 60 All-Time Jays list at #26. Those free agent compensation draft picks sometimes paid off big.

Cleveland also sent us Ward, who played with us for three seasons as a 4th outfield type. He hit .220/.310/.344, between stints on the DL.

The players we gave up? Well, Boucher didn’t turn out to be much. He played two seasons with Cleveland, going 3-6 with a 7.07 ERA, before a couple of seasons for his home province team, the Expos.

Hill had a pretty good career, ending up with 186 home runs, 586 RBI, and a .271/.321/.482 over 13 seasons. Only 3 of those were with Cleveland. He didn’t hit much there, .241/.293/.415. Cleveland traded him to the Cubs for Candy Maldonado in 1993.

Whiten turned into a decent player too. He hit 105 homers, 378 RBI, and a .259/.341/.415 line in 11 MLB seasons. Most of his best work came after he left Cleveland. They traded him to the Cardinals for starting pitcher Mark Clark after two nondescript seasons for Cleveland.

Pat Gullick attempted to push us over the edge and into the World Series. It didn’t work. Candiotti pitched well enough and all, but it wasn’t enough. But then we got Shannon Stewart, who was better than either of the outfielders we gave up in the trade.

The next big trade Pat made turned out a lot better.