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Wednesday, January 24
Blue Jays trade Wells to White Sox

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.

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.

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 Roberts.

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.

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
  • 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 cheered.

    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 1993.

    "It was extremely tough to depart with a quality pitcher and person like Mike Sirotka," Williams said after making his first major trade.

    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.

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