Jays GM: Accardo 'No. 1' option in Hillenbrand trade

Updated: July 22, 2006, 6:35 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- Toronto Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said Saturday he was happy with what he got from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Shea Hillenbrand, a player he designated for assignment.

Shea Hillenbrand
Hillenbrand

Jeremy Accardo
Accardo

Late Friday night, Ricciardi traded Hillenbrand and reliever Vinnie Chulk to the Giants for reliever Jeremy Accardo. Hillenbrand was designated for assignment during Wednesday's game after writing "play for yourself" on a board the Blue Jays use to post batting practice times. He later wrote the "ship is sinking" before manager John Gibbons challenged him to a fight during a team meeting.

Ricciardi faced questions about what he could get for a player he designated for assignment, but he said seven teams were interested.

The 24-year-old Accardo went 1-3 with three saves and a 4.91 ERA in 38 games with San Francisco. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out 40 and walked 11 in 40 1/3 innings.

"This was actually the No. 1 guy that we wanted to get so it worked out good for us," Ricciardi said. "He's young. He's got an option. He's controllable financially. Going forward if we lose guys in our bullpen we got another young arm in our bullpen."

The Giants assumed the $2 million that was left on Hillenbrand's contract.

"If you want to look at this trade from a baseball standpoint it's Accardo for Chulk and Hillenbrand for $2 million dollars in savings," Ricciardi said. "That's how we are looking at it."

Ricciardi said they could use the money to acquire a player before the July 31 trade deadline.

Hillenbrand was unhappy with his role as the team's primary designated hitter and hated being left out of the starting lineup 11 times this season.

Hillenbrand also was upset because he felt the Blue Jays were not sensitive that he needed several days to complete the adoption of a baby girl on the West Coast over the weekend. The DH and corner infielder was not in the starting lineup when he returned.

"We wish them all well. We hope they all find happiness," Gibbons said with a smirk.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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