Right now, the Yankees have one veteran ace and about a dozen #4/5 type starters in their rotation mix, most of them young. Twelve years ago, it was the other way around. They had about four veteran aces and little depth, which is what they sought to acquire when they traded the late Hideki Irabu to the Expos. On this date in 1999, the Yankees sent Irabu to Montreal for prospects Jake Westbrook, Ted Lilly, and Christian Parker.
Parker never amounted to much, appearing in just one big league game in his career. That came in April 2001, when he gave up seven runs in three innings to the Blue Jays. He hurt his shoulder and didn’t pitch again that season, and he missed all of 2002 as well. He’s been out of baseball since 2005. Westbrook, then just 22, pitched in three games for the 2000 Yankees (ten runs in 6.2 IP) before being traded to the Indians as part of the package for David Justice at the deadline. He went on to have a long and successful career with the Tribe and now with the Cardinals, though Justice helped the Yankees to their third consecutive World Championship that season. Flags fly forever, as they say.
Lilly, 23 at the time of the trade, stuck around for a while. He made six relief appearances for the 2000 Yankees (six runs in eight innings), then made 21 starts and five relief appearances for the 2001 Yankees (5.37 ERA). The next season he was in the Opening Day bullpen, but eventually moved into the rotation. Lilly made eleven starts and five relief appearances for New York that year (3.40 ERA), then was traded to the Athletics as part of that four-team humdinger that brought Jeff Weaver to the Bronx. Like Westbrook, Lilly went on to have a long and successful career following the trade, bouncing from Oakland to the Blue Jays to the Cubs to the Dodgers. In 205.1 IP for the Yankees, he posted a 4.65 ERA.
* * *
Here is tonight’s open thread. For those of you with the NFL Network or in the local markets, you can watch the Colts and Saints at 8:20pm ET. The Rangers are also playing the Islanders, which should be fun. Talk about that or anything else you like here, the thread is yours.