Blue Jays: Top 10 Playoff Push Trades
Familiar Arm for the Bullpen
4. Jim Acker for Tony Castillo and Francisco Cabrera
During the 1989 season, the Blue Jays starting rotation was tops in the league and their bullpen was lights out, but they had one hole. General Manager Pat Gillick wanted to fill one more spot in the bullpen for a run at their second postseason. Rookie Tony Castillo was struggling in his role so Gillick went out and acquired a familiar face and on August 24 brought in Jim Acker. Acker had spent three and a half seasons with Toronto from 1983-1986, which including pitching six shutout innings in the 1985 ALCS.
Acker was in the midst of his best season in Atlanta posting a 2.67 ER and 1.07 WHIP over almost 100 innings. He got even better down the stretch in Toronto as he was used 14 times in just over a month down the stretch, including arguably his best performance of the season on September 29. With the Blue Jays up one game on the Baltimore Orioles for the AL East Pennant and playing them in the final series of the regular season.
The team called upon Acker in the sixth inning with the team down 1-0. Acker threw four shutout innings, allowing the team to tie it in the eighth and eventually win it in the eleventh inning. The win by the Blue Jays was the difference of them being up two games or being tied in the standings with two games in the season to go. Toronto would split the next two games and win the AL East Pennant.
In the ALCS, Cito Gaston relied heavily on Acker as he used him in all five games of the series. Acker would throw a combined 6.1 innings in the series allowing just one earned run for a 1.42 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. Acker would play the next two seasons with Toronto and made an appearance in the ALCS Championship in 1991. Acker wound up playing in three different League Championship Series for Toronto, pitching in eight games and finished with a 0.69 ERA and 0.62 WHIP.