Jays Trade Williams to Padres
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ After getting a strong recommendation from Dave Stewart, the Toronto Blue Jays acquired pitcher Joey Hamilton from the San Diego Padres on Sunday for pitcher Woody Williams in a four-player trade.
The Padres also got reliever Carlos Almanzar and minor league outfielder Peter Tucci in the first trade announced at the winter meetings.
Toronto’s bid to trade five-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens remained on hold, while the Padres made the swap a day after their 1998 ace, Kevin Brown, signed with Los Angeles.
Stewart was Hamilton’s pitching coach with San Diego last season, and recently became an assistant general manager with the Blue Jays.
``Being in the Padres organization, I knew there was a possibility to get Joey,″ Stewart said. ``In my new job, they’re leaning on me for my input from the field, and I told them I thought Joey would help us.″
Hamilton, 28, was 13-13 with a 4.27 ERA in 34 starts. The right-hander is 55-44 with a 3.83 ERA in five years with the Padres.
``I think he’s just coming into his own,″ Stewart said. ``What I like about Joey is that he is a real, real strong competitor. And, I still think there’s room for growth.″
With the Blue Jays figuring to trade Clemens, they wanted to make sure they stocked up on pitching.
``We have in Joey Hamilton a pitcher who can go in the front end of our rotation,″ Toronto general manager Gord Ash said.
Williams, 32, was 10-9 with a 4.46 ERA in 32 starts. The right-hander was 28-34 with a 4.30 ERA in five-plus season for Toronto.
``Woody Williams is a guy we feel who can slide in behind Andy Ashby and Sterling Hitchcock and be a solid No. 3 starter,″ Padres general manager Kevin Towers said.
``We feel he’ll probably be better in the NL than the AL because he’s a command pitcher,″ he said.
Almanzar, 25, was 2-2 with a 5.34 ERA in 25 relief appearances for the Blue Jays. The righty was 3-6 with 10 saves and a 2.31 ERA at Triple-A Syracuse.
Tucci, 23, was Toronto’s first-round pick in the 1996 draft. He hit .329 with 23 home runs and 76 RBIs at Class A Dunedin last season, then hit .291 with seven homers and 36 RBIs in 38 games at Double-A Knoxville.