The Return of #1
1. Tony Fernandez for Darrin Jackson
The late great Tony Fernandez has had such a legendary career in Toronto it is hard to think they acquired him to gear up for the playoffs. That was the case in 1993, while this might not go down as a deadline deal, it was a deal that helped the Blue Jays into the playoffs.
The Blue Jays were rotating players throughout the season at shortstop, Dick Schofield was batting just .211 in early May when he went down for four months with an injury, Luis Sojo was failing at the plate batting just .179 and Alfredo Griffin was doing admirably but was on his final legs and wouldn’t be able to play full time. The Blue Jays were stacked and needed to shore up the shortstop position so he re-acquired Fernandez from the New York Mets for Darrin Jackson in the middle of June.
At the time of the trade, Fernandez was struggling with just eight extra-base hits and batting .225 through 48 games while having one of his slowest starts on defense with a .975 fielding percentage. When he returned to Toronto it was like resurgence on his career. After his first three games with the Blue Jays, he lifted his batting average 21 points going 7 for 14 with three doubles, one triple, one home run, and 7 RBI. He finished the season batting .306 for the Blue Jays with 31 extra-base hits in 94 games and also included 15 stolen bases.
In the ALCS against the Chicago White Sox, Fernandez played all six games at shortstop, batted seventh in the line-up and went 7 for 22 (.318). In the World Series that year against the Philadelphia Phillies he led all players with 9 RBI while hitting 7 for 21 (.333) along with three walks. It was likely that Fernandez was second in line for the World Series MVP after Paul Molitor.
The World Series win in Toronto meant a lot for fans to see Fernandez as he had been such a big part of baseball in Toronto. Fernandez would depart that offseason after his second stint with the Blue Jays but would make two more returns before his career finished.
Who is your choice as the best pick up? Is there someone not on the list you would have liked to see on the list?