David Cone was a pretty good pitcher in his day. He pitched for the Royals, Mets, and Yankees, mostly, with stops in Toronto and Boston along the way. Cone was drafted by the Royals but was later traded to the Mets in 1987. He enjoyed some very good seasons with the Mets until he was traded in 1992 in his contract year to the Blue Jays for Jeff Kent.
After the 1992 season, he became a free agent and signed with the Royals. He was very good for them, too, and was the Cy Young award winner in 1994. In yet another contract year, Cone was traded in April of 1995 to the Blue Jays again, This time, the deal was for a couple minor leaguers and Chris Stynes (who had a few good years in the Majors). In July of 1995, he was traded to the Yankees by the Blue Jays. The Yankees got a steal as none of the three players they gave up became anything. Cone pitched OK for the Yankees and became a free agent after the season. However, he elected to rejoin the Yankees in 1996.
He pitched for the Yankees from 1996-2000, and signed a big one-year deal in 1998 and a two-year deal in 1999. Cone blew up in 2000 while being paid $12 million that season, pitching to the tune of a 6.91 ERA with an inflated walk rate (4.8 BB/9 vs career 3.5 BB/9). The Yankees let him go after the season and he looked done. However, the Red Sox decided to give him a $1 million contract for 2001. While he wasn’t phenomenal and only pitched 135 innings over 25 starts, he was worth 1.9 WAR to the Red Sox, about a league-average starting pitcher. He was a bargain. The Mets gave him another shot in 2002 but he was knocked around in 5 games (4 starts) before retiring.
Overall, Cone won 194 games over 17 seasons with a 3.46 ERA. He struck out a solid 8.3 K/9 and was respectable with his walk rate around 3.5 BB/9. He earned a lot of money in his career, and he deserved it, being one of the better pitchers in the American League and National League when he was in those leagues. It is interesting to see that he was traded three times in two of his contract years and it’s nice that the Yankees helped him gain World Championship rings (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000).
Cone may not have been a Hall-of-Famer, but he racked up 61.7 WAR in his career. That’s actually more than a few Hall-of-Fame pitchers, like Early Wynn and Jim Bunning. Maybe he’ll make it in one day by vote of the Veteran’s Committee. He was quite a good pitcher when I saw him pitch for the Yankees and Red Sox, and had quite a career. He’s one definitely worth remembering.