Toronto Blue Jays News

Former Blue Jays find themselves on the Hall of Fame Ballot for the first time

Toronto Blue Jays v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Toronto Blue Jays v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim / Matt Brown/GettyImages
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The National Baseball Hall of Fame released the ballot for 2023 a few days ago, with 28 players making the cut. There are nine former Blue Jays in Cooperstown but only one wears the Jays logo on their plaque in Roberto Alomar.

Returning to the ballot this year with connections to the Blue Jays include Scott Rolen, Jeff Kent, Omar Vizquel, and Mark Buehrle. Kent is in his tenth and final year and will need to make up some ground if he wants to make it in, as he finished last year at 32.7% on the Baseball Writers' Association of America votes. Rolen has the best chance of the group, finding his name on 63.2% of ballots last year, roughly 12% shy of the 75% threshold needed to enter the Hall of Fame.

This year's ballot has a fresh new class which includes some former Blue Jays.

R.A. Dickey - RHP

Acquired back in the 2012/2013 offseason, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was coming off a NL Cy Young season with the New York Mets and was part of a huge overhaul of trades orchestrated by then-general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

Through four seasons with the Jays, Dickey was not able to find that Cy Young form, sporting a 4.05 ERA through 824.1 innings with a 6.6 K/9 and a 1.251 WHIP in 131 outings, compiling a 7.1 bWAR in the process. He pitched well in the 2015 ALDS matchup against the Texas Rangers, allowing just one earned run through 4.2 innings, but struggled in the ALCS against Kansas City, surrendering four earned runs and getting pulled before the third inning.

For his career, Dickey appeared in 400 games (300 starts) and finishes with a 4.04 ERA across 15 seasons, striking out 1477 batters before retiring following the 2017 campaign. He earned a 23.1 bWAR over his career while playing on six different teams.

Jayson Werth - Outfielder

Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round of the 1997 MLB Draft, outfielder Jayson Werth found his way to the Blue Jays organization during the 2000/2001 offseason, when Werth was traded to the Jays in exchange for LHP John Bale.

Three former Blue Jays make the cut on the 2023 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

A catcher at the time of the trade, Werth was moved to the outfield in 2002 while playing in the minor leagues and made his MLB debut later that year as a September callup. The righty-batter only spent two seasons with the Jays, as injuries and MiLB options limited him to just 41 games during that time. He collected 22 hits through 94 at-bats and also mashed his first home run against the Texas Rangers.

Werth would be traded that offseason to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for reliever Jason Frasor, with the outfielder spending the next 13 years split between the Dodgers, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Washington Nationals.

Over his career, Werth amassed a .267/.360 /.455 slash line with 229 home runs, 799 RBI, 132 stolen bases, and a .816 OPS to the tune of a 29.2 bWAR. Defensively, Werth spent most of the time in right field, earning a 4 bDRS through 1020 outings with 90 outfield assists. At the time of retiring, Werth was an All-Star during the 2009 season and won a World Series with the Phillies in 2009.

Mike Napoli - C/1B

If you are looking for some bar trivia to stump your friends, there was a short period of time when Mike Napoli was once a Blue Jay. He never suited up for the squad but spent four days during the 2010/2011 offseason, as he was part of the trade package from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Vernon Wells and Napoli and would be moved days later to the Texas Rangers in exchange for reliever Frank Francisco.

Napoli finished his career with an .821 OPS spread across 12 seasons while accumulating a 26.3 bWAR.

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