|CHICAGO -- The Toronto Blue Jays accommodated David Wells' request to be traded to a contender. Only the deal doesn't send the veteran left-hander back to New York.
Wells, a 20-game winner who recently
criticized Toronto's front office and fans, was traded by the Blue
Jays to the Chicago White Sox in a six-player deal Sunday.
The AL Central champion White Sox traded pitchers Mike Sirotka,
Kevin Beirne and Mike Williams and outfielder Brian Simmons for Wells and pitcher Matt DeWitt.
"Certainly David Wells will be missed," Blue Jays general
manager Gord Ash said. "He was an important guy for us, but it's
time for him to move on."
ESPN's Peter Gammons reports that the Mets were still in the running for Wells as late as Sunday morning, offering left-hander Glendon Rusch and prized-prospect Grant
Ash told the Mets that he had a better deal, one that included an outfielder.
"We had multiple discussions with the Blue Jays, but I guess
they felt they were able to fill more holes with the trade they
made with the White Sox than with the trade they made with us,"
Mets general manager Steve Phillips said.
"Sure, I'm a little disappointed but I'm not discouraged. I
like our team a lot and I think we have a great chance to get back
to the postseason again," he said.
Ash said it was difficult to choose between the potential deals.
"We had a White Sox package and Mets package, and the
overwhelming feeling among our baseball group was that the White
Sox package presented us players who could make an impact on the
present and the future," he said. "The Mets was more skewed to
the future. We felt we needed to go this way."
Wells, 37, is 161-107 in a 14-year career and the White Sox will
be his sixth team. He was 20-8 last season with a league-best nine
complete games in 35 starts and has averaged 16 victories over the
last six seasons.
Wells has been at his best in the postseason with an 8-1 record
in 19 games.
"We had the opportunity to acquire one of the premier
left-handers in the league over the last decade," White Sox
general manager Kenny Williams said.
"We needed an ace and the price for an ace is high," Williams said.
"We won 95 games and got to the playoffs and it wasn't enough."
Wells was on his honeymoon in New Zealand, and neither the White
Sox nor Blue Jays could reach him with news of the trade.
Earlier this month, Wells said the Blue Jays were not doing
enough. He also said the Blue Jays' fans "stink."
"They are terrible," he said before leaving for his honeymoon.
Sunday, Jan. 14
In the end, the Blue Jays decided David Wells had to move on. And when White Sox general manager Ken Williams came forward Saturday night with a lefthanded starter, a reliever and a defensive outfielder, Gord Ash made the deal.
Peter Gammons analyzes the Blue Jays-White Sox trade.
Said Ash: "This last time when he was critical of our fans, I
don't think it was called for. It did not play a role in this
transaction. It was a baseball transaction, first and foremost."
Even so, when the trade was announced at halftime of the Toronto
Raptors' NBA game against Charlotte at the Air Canada Centre, fans
Williams said Wells should fit right into the White Sox's young
clubhouse and give the younger pitchers someone to watch.
"He leads by example on the field. Off the field, he's his own
man. He always has been."
Sirotka went 15-10 last season for Chicago last season. He is
45-42 overall in 125 major league games.
"I was pretty shocked," Sirotka said. "But I see a similar
team in Toronto and a chance to win."
Wells, known for his girth, personality and love of a good time,
is signed for the 2001 season at $8.25 million. The White Sox have
an option for 2002 at $9 million, with a $1.25 million buyout.
Nicknamed "Boomer," Wells -- known for his girth, personality and love of a good time -- is signed through the 2001 season.
As the ace of Toronto's staff, Wells struck out 166 in 229 2/3 innings with 4.11 ERA. He also led the AL with fewest walks per nine innings (1.2).
He had perhaps the strongest first half of any pitcher last season, but he stumbled after the All-Star break with a 5-6 record and 4.97 ERA. His relationship with management soured when the Blue Jays reportedly ordered him to pitch on the final day of the season.
Wells pitched a perfect game for the Yankees on May 17, 1998,
against Minnesota. He helped lead the Yankees to the World Series
championship later that season, but then was traded to Toronto for
Roger Clemens in a deal during 1999 spring training.
Wells also has pitched for Detroit, Baltimore and Cincinnati.
"It was a benefit to have it done before camp. It takes away a
lot of the distractions and the uncertainties on whether Boomer
would or wouldn't be there on time," Ash said.
Sirotka, 29, made 32 starts last season and was considered the
White Sox ace as they made the playoffs for the first time since
"It was extremely tough to depart with a quality pitcher and
person like Mike Sirotka," Williams said after making his first
The Blue Jays added starting pitching early in the offseason in the form of 33-year-old right-hander Steve Parris from the Cincinnati Reds.
With Sirotka, Parris is joining a revamped rotation that will include Roy Halladay, who has yet to fulfill expectations as a dominant starter, a healthy Joey Hamilton, Chris Carpenter and Esteban Loiaza.
DeWitt, 23, was 1-0 in eight outings for the Blue Jays last
season. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Syracuse, where
he was 4-5.
Beirne, 27, was mainly a reliever for the White Sox. He was 1-3
with a 6.70 ERA in 29 games. Simmons, 27, missed the entire season
after rupturing his Achilles' tendon in spring training. Williams,
22, was 3-4 at Class A Winston-Salem.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
David Wells Fact File
Turns 38 on May 20
Joins sixth team
Career record: 161-107, 4.06 ERA
Last season: 20-8, 4.11 ERA
(Led AL with 9 CGs, 1.2 BB/9)
Postseason: 8-1 in 19 games
Career at new Comiskey:
2-4, 4.88 ERA in 10 gms (9 starts)
Mike Sirotka Fact File
Turns 30 on May 13
Career record: 45-42, 4.31 ERA
Last season: 15-10, 3.79 ERA
(Led team with 197 IP, wins
Postseason: 0-1, 4.76 ERA
Career at SkyDome: 3-0, 2.05 ERA
Hot Stove Heaters: Blue Jays
Hot Stove Heaters: White Sox
David Wells talks about how he was informed about his trade to Chicago.
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RealAudio: 14.4 | 28.8 | 56.6
David Wells may have a few more seasons left in him.
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RealAudio: 14.4 | 28.8 | 56.6