Jays From the Couch takes a look at one of the more Notorious Trades in Blue Jays History
One of the biggest trades ever made in Blue Jays history occurred on August 27, 1992. General Manager Pat Gillick wanted to add some depth to the rotation in the hope of making their first World Series. With a surplus at second base, Gillick looked to trade Jeff Kent from the Blue Jays for a rental. So the New York Mets sent pitcher David Cone to the Blue Jays in exchange for Jeff Kent and a player to be named later, Ryan Thompson.
The Trade August 27, 1992
To the Blue Jays: David Cone
To the Mets: Jeff Kent, Ryan Thompson
David Cone became a critical part of the Blue Jays bullpen during the postseason. Cone was even the starter who pitched during Game 6 for the Toronto Blue Jays (the game that won them the World Series). After the 1992 season was over, Cone decided to test free agency and sign with the Kansas City Royals. He stayed with the Royals until April 1995 when he was traded back to the Blue Jays for Tony Medrano, David Sinnes and Chris Stynes. Medrano and Sinnes never made it to the Majors and Stynes played two seasons in Kansas City.
As the Blue Jays don’t look like they will contend in 1995, they traded Cone to the Yankees three months later for Mike Gordon, Jason Jarvis, and Marty Janzen. Gordon and Jarvis never made it to the Major Leagues but Janzen was in the Blue Jays organization until 1997, when he is selected 69th overall in the expansion draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
As for Cone, he won four more World Series titles with the Yankees in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. After the 2000 season, Cone played with the Red Sox before retiring a member of the New York Mets in 2003.
Jeff Kent played the remainder of the 1992 season with the New York Mets. He played with the Mets until July 1996 when he is traded to the Cleveland Indians for Carlos Baerga and Alvaro Espinoza. Espinoza was released by the Mets after the 1996 season and retired in 1997 as a member of the Seattle Mariners. As for Carlos Baerga, he played with the New York Mets until 1999 until he tested free agency and signed with the San Diego Padres. As for Jeff Kent, he is traded from Cleveland to San Francisco. He plays for the Giants from 1997-2002 and retires from baseball in 2008 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ryan Thompson was the player to be named later and completed the trade on September 1st, 1992. Since he was in the minors when he was traded, he made his Major League debut with the Mets just days after being traded to New York. In March 1996, Thompson was traded from the Mets to the Cleveland Indians for Mark Clark. Mark Clark plays two seasons for the New York Mets before he was traded to the Cubs in August 1997 for Turk Wendel, Mel Rojas, and Brian McRae. Turk Wendel played with the Mets until 2001 when he was traded to the Phillies for Bruce Chen (traded in 2002 to Montreal) and Adam Walker who never made it to the Majors. Brian McRae was traded by the Mets in 1999 for Darryl Hamilton for Chuck McElroy, and Brian never plays another Major League game again.
Mel Rojas was a member of the Mets until November 1998 when he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Bobby Bonilla. Bobby Bonilla is a member of the Mets until 2001 when he is bought out of his contract. although he asked for it to be paid over the course of 25 years starting in 2011. So he is paid about $1.2 million every July 1st until 2035 (which is double the league minimum). I’m sure the Mets didn’t like making that trade too much.
Ryan Thompson decided to test free agency after the 1996 season and signed with the Kansas City Royals. After being released by the Royals, he is picked up by the Indians on waivers where they trade him to the Blue Jays for Jeff Manto. Ryan Thompson finishes out the 1997 season with the Blue Jays. Thompson officially retires in 2004 as a member of the Houston Astros, with his last Major League game coming in 2002 as a member of the Marlins.
From the Blue Jays perspective, this is one of the riskiest trades they have ever made. Had they not won the World Series in 1992, we would be talking about how we traded away a potential Hall of Famer in Jeff Kent who was a backup to Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar. Though David Cone left the Blue Jays after the 1992 season, they were fortunate to get him back three years later, and didn’t get much in return for him when he went to the New York Yankees.
For the Mets, I would assume that this was one of the worst trades in their franchise history, but David Cone went on to win five World Series and four of them were with the cross-town rival New York Yankees (which probably hurt their attendance numbers). Not to mention their trade tree shows that this directly leads to Bobby Bonilla, as he makes more money than 15 members of their 25 men roster – and he hasn’t played for the Mets in 18 years.