Today marks the ten year anniversary of when the Blue Jays traded former rotation anchor David Wells and Matt DeWitt to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Brian Simmons and pitchers Mike Sirotka, Kevin Beirne, and Mike Williams.
A second round pick by the Jays in 1982, Wells returned to the Blue Jays organization in 1999 after being part of the trade that send Roger Clemens to the New York Yankees.
Wells was a workhorse during his time in Toronto, going 17-10 with a 4.82 ERA and 7 complete games, while giving up 246 hits and a career-high 32 home runs, in 231.2 innings, which was also a career-high. Wells was an All-Star and finished third in Cy Young voting for his efforts in 2000, when he went 20-8 with a 4.11 ERA and 9 complete games, while giving up a career-high 266 hits in 229.2 innings. He was the first Blue Jay lefty to win 20 games, and finished tied for first in the league in wins, first in complete games and walk rate (1.2 BB/9), second in innings pitched, and sixth in ERA.
That offseason, then-Jays GM Gord Ash traded Wells to the Chicago White Sox on January 14th, 2001. The (unfortunately) memorable part of this trade was that Mike Sirotka, the key piece in the trade who was coming off a 3.79 ERA season in 197 innings (32 starts), was injured at the time of the trade, and he never pitched in the Major Leagues again. Ash had not made the deal contingent on the results of a medical examination, and when the Jays tried to state their case to MLB, MLB ruled in favor of the White Sox.
Therefore, the Jays only got right-hander Kevin Beirne, minor leaguer Mike Williams, and outfielder Brian Simmons for David Wells.
Beirne went on to pitch a whopping 7 innings for the Jays in 2001, giving up 10 earned runs, 6 walks, 13 hits, and one home run in the process. Minor Leaguer Mike Williams never saw any action with the Blue Jays, and outfielder Brian Simmons played the final 60 games of his career with the Jays in 2001, compiling a .178/.239/.280 slash line, with 19 hits, 8 RBI, and 26 strikeouts.
Needless to say, the botched inclusion of Sirotka in the trade, combined with the brutal results from the remainder of the package, ultimately led to Ash’s dismissal from the Blue Jays and opened the doors for J.P. Ricciardi’s five eight year plan.