Nos Amours: The Greatest Expos 1990-2004, Part 3: The Pitchers

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Updated: March 30, 2013
Pedro_Expos

So far you have read my all-time 1990-2004 roster for Infield and Outfield, and I must say it is a mighty fine looking bunch.  But now it is time for pitching. For Pitching, I will pick five starters and a few bullpen pitchers. There are so many that it is kind of hard to just pick one or two, so I expanded it a bit more. Hope you have liked my choices so far – and now here are my pitchers!

 

Starting Pitchers:

Denis Martinez: Martinez was known as El Presidente to his fans and was a great pitcher for the Expos from 1986-1993 and had solid numbers as a starter. He had a record of 100-72 with the Expos and lifetime ERA of 3.06 and 973 strikeouts. He never had a full season under 10 wins and had 3 seasons with 15-plus wins. He was an all-star for the Expos from 1990 to 1992. Let us not forget the fact that Martinez pitched a perfect game on July 28th 1991, the only Montreal Expo to do so as well as the first latin born pitcher. Fun fact; while he pitched in Montreal there was a hot-dog named the Denny Dog sold at the Big O, which was topped with cheese and bacon. (Sounds weird, probably tasted fantastic!) Behind Steve Roger, EL Presidente is the only former Expo to win 100 games.

Javier Vazquez played for the Expos from 1998-2003 and was a strikeout machine in Montreal. Vazquez had a record of 64-68 a 4.16 ERA and 1076 strikes for the Spos. Some of his numbers might not be impressive, but many of the Expos teams in the time that he played with struggled to win games during their seasons. His season high wins was 16 in 2001, but you can argue that his best season was in 2003 when he went 13-12, but had a career year in ERA at 3.24, 230.1 innings pitched and 241 strikeouts.  Like I said, he was a strikeout machine. Vazquez was a great pitcher and deserved to be the Ace on the team. The seasons he played in Montreal were ones marked by money issues and injuries, and the supporting cast behind him came up short at times. Another “if” moment, but had ownership had been better at that time Vazquez might have had more wins in his record.  Regardless, he knew how to strike-people out.

Jeff Fassero was a pitcher who played in the minors until the age of 28 where he got his opportunity to pitch in Montreal from 1991-1996. He was considered old for a rookie, but that time in the minors must have helped a lot because he pitched in the majors from 1991-2006. Fassero had a record of 58-48 with 3.20 ERA and 750 strikeouts, his best full season with the Expos was in 1996 (15-11, 222 K’s) but before he became a full-time starting pitcher he went 12-5 in 1993 with 2.29 ERA and 140 strikeouts. He was traded in 1997 for Chris Widger and Terry Moore – personally I think it was a bad trade (I liked Widger don not get me wrong) but Fassero would go on to have his best year in 1997. Larry Walker and Fassero both had career years in 1997.  Now imagine both of those guys on the 1997 team.

Ken Hill only pitched from 1992-1994 with the Expos, but those were the seasons where he pitched some of his best baseball games. Hill had a 4-21 record with a 3.01 ERA and 325 strikeouts. Two out of the three seasons Hill played in Montreal, he won 16 games.  His best season was the strike-shortened season where he went 16-5, though he did not have a high in strikeouts with 85 and an ERA of 3.32, but he did finish second to Greg Maddux in the CY Young voting that year and would have definitely gotten 20+ wins in 1994.  Unfortunately the next season he did not resign in Montreal and went back to St. Louis. He would have one more stellar season in 1996 with the Texas Rangers, but he still would never pitch the same after leaving Montreal.

Pedro Martinez: Before the 1994 season the Montreal Expos traded Delino DeShields for Pedro Martinez an absolute steal of a deal, though the Dodgers were not so happy. Pedro played from 1994-1997 and once again I wish we gave him an extension, because he was a great pitcher of his time. His total numbers with the Montreal Expos were a 55-33 record with a 3.06 ERA and 843 strikeouts. His best season was his final season with the team in 1997 where he won the CY Young award on the back of a 17-8 record and a meager 1.90 ERA to go with 13 complete games and 305 strikeouts  -these numbers are mind blowing. Pedro would manage to break his seasonal ERA and Strikeout record with the Red Sox later on in his career.  Trading him so they would not lose him to a free agency was smart, and the return was Tony Armas Jr and Carl Pavano, but honestly I would have given him the money and kept him in Montreal for as long as he wanted to stay. Pedro clearly loved the city of Montreal, because when he won the World Series with Boston in 2004 he dedicated the victory to Montreal and the fans. Pedro is the obvious Ace of these 5 pitchers and could have been the face of the franchise with Vladimir Guerrero.

As for the Bullpen there are so many pitchers that have come through this organization but I have picked just three; John Wetteland(1992-94), Ugeth Urbina (1995-01) and Mel Rojas (1990-96). Funny enough all three of these pitchers were closers at one point or another with the Expos and all had some pretty decent numbers. Wetteland as a Expo went 17-13 with a 2.32 ERA, 280 strikeouts and 105 saves, Rojas went 29-23, 3.11 ERA, 419 strikeouts and had 109 saves, while Urbina went 31-26 3.52 ERA, 480 strikeouts and 149 saves. Ignoring the Nationals stats Urbina, Rojas and Wetteland go from 2-4 on the all-time saves list for the Expos. Honorable Mentions: Scott Strickland, Scott Downs, Luis Ayala, Rheal Cormier, Chad Cordero, Dustin Hermanson, Carlos Perez, Carl Pavano and Livan Hernandez who would have made the top 5 had he played more than just two season with the Expos.

Remember, Baseball Season Starts March 31st at 8pm with the Astros vs. Rangers!

Feel Free to leave comments below.  You can follow me on twitter @NVincelli, and follow the site @lastwordonsport.

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1990-2004 Lineup           Rotation

1 Orlando Cabrera   SS         1 Pedro Martinez

2 Rondell White      CF          2 Denis Martinez

3 Larry Walker        LF          3 Ken Hill

4 Vladimir Guerreo RF        4 Jeff Fassero

5 Tim Wallach         3B           5 Javier Vazquez

6 Jose Vidro             2B

7 Andres Galarraga/David Segui  1B

8 Darren Fletcher     C

9 Pedro Martinez      P

Bench                           Bullpen

Wil Cordero                 Mel Rojas

Brad Wilkerson          Ugeth Urbina

Mark Grudzielanek    John Wetteland

Michael Barret           Scott Downs

Henry Rodriguez        Scott Strickland

Andres Galarraga        Rheal Cormier

Chad Cordero

That is how my 1990-2004 Montreal Expos team would look and frankly if that was the team they would be the best team in the league, the players I picked on the bench are great utility guys who had a decent bat as well and if you ever look at the postions Cordero played it was everywhere! I hope you enjoyed my 3 Expos articles as I really enjoyed writing them, now that the Baseball season is starting shortly check back for more baseball articles! If you want to share any thoughts about your own Expos team, or mine feel free to do so!

Special Honorable mentions go to: Many of the Expos I have mentioned were part of the great 1994 season that could have been the champion if the strike had not happened. So they get a special honorable mention, because from 1990-2004 the 1994 Expos were the best team in baseball and the best Expos team from that time period.

My second Special Honorable mention goes to Ex-Expo Warren Cromartie who played for the team from 1974-1983, but this is not about his past it is about what he is doing now and that is trying to get baseball back in Montreal. He has made good strides so far with the Montreal Baseball Project and I urge you to check it out, it is a great idea and is making some great progress! Good Luck Cro I believe in you!

Feel Free to leave comments below.  You can follow me on twitter @NVincelli, and follow the site @lastwordonsport.

Interested in writing for LastWordOnSports? Find more info at our “Join Our Team” page.

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