2003 Toronto Blue Jays season

2003 Toronto Blue Jays season

The 2003 Toronto Blue Jays season was the franchise's twenty-seventh season of Major League Baseball. It resulted in the Blue Jays finishing third in the American League East with a record of 86 wins and 76 losses.


  • October 9, 2002: Chris Carpenter was released by the Toronto Blue Jays.[1]
  • October 9, 2002: Brandon Lyon was selected off waivers by the Boston Red Sox from the Toronto Blue Jays.[2]
  • October 23, 2002: Doug Linton was signed as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays.[3]
  • December 15, 2002: Felipe López was traded as part of a 4-team trade by the Toronto Blue Jays to the Cincinnati Reds. The Oakland Athletics sent a player to be named later to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Arizona Diamondbacks sent Erubiel Durazo to the Oakland Athletics. The Cincinnati Reds sent Elmer Dessens and cash to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Oakland Athletics sent Jason Arnold (minors) (December 16, 2002) to the Toronto Blue Jays to complete the trade.[4]
  • December 20, 2002: Mike Bordick was signed as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays.[5]
  • December 28, 2002: Frank Catalanotto was signed as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays.[6]
  • January 27, 2003: John Ford Griffin was traded by the Oakland Athletics to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later. The Toronto Blue Jays sent Jason Perry (minors) (June 23, 2003) to the Oakland Athletics to complete the trade.[7]

Regular season


The 2003 season was a surprise to both team management and baseball analysts. After a poor April, the team had its most successful month ever in May. The offense was mainly responsible for the stunning turnaround. Delgado took over the major league lead in runs batted in, followed closely by Wells. The middle infield positions remained a gametime decision - Bordick played shortstop and third base, Dave Berg second base and third base, Chris Woodward shortstop and Orlando Hudson second base. Minor league call-up Howie Clark entered the mix as a utility player after Hinske underwent surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his right hand, which he had tried to play through for the first six weeks.

Despite their hitting successes, poor pitching continued to plague the team. Roy Halladay was spectacular in winning his first Cy Young Award, going 22–7, with a 3.25 ERA, but he didn't get much help from his fellow pitchers, although he had a poor start himself. Rookie Aquilino López was a pleasant surprise out of the bullpen. Kelvim Escobar and former NBA player Mark Hendrickson were inserted into the rotation with their places in the bullpen filled by waiver acquisitions Doug Davis and Josh Towers, who went 8–1 after being called up from Triple-A Syracuse. The closer role was a season-long revolving door, with nobody able to take hold of the reins. Trade speculation had focussed on the acquisitions of pitching at the expense of hitters, but in the end the team simply divested itself of impending free agent Shannon Stewart without getting a pitcher in return. Instead Bobby Kielty, another outfielder with a much lower batting average than Stewart's, was obtained from the Minnesota Twins and later traded in November 2003 to the Oakland Athletics for starter Ted Lilly. The top four pitchers for the projected 2004 rotation would include Halladay, Lilly, free agent Miguel Batista, and the return of Pat Hentgen.

After the spectacular turnaround in May 2003, which helped the team move to just few games behind the wildcard leading Boston Red Sox, team performance slowly returned to reality, as predicted by team management. Carlos Delgado was second in the voting for the American League MVP Award, although the Jays were in third place in their division. The Jays also announced that a new logo, and new uniforms, would be used as of January 1, 2004.

Opening Day starters

  • Frank Catalanotto
  • Carlos Delgado
  • Roy Halladay
  • Eric Hinske
  • Ken Huckaby
  • Orlando Hudson
  • Josh Phelps
  • Shannon Stewart
  • Vernon Wells
  • Chris Woodward[8]

Season standings

AL East W L GB Pct.
New York Yankees 101 61 -- .601
Boston Red Sox 95 67 6 .572
Toronto Blue Jays 86 76 15 .528
Baltimore Orioles 71 91 30 .423
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 63 99 38 .384

Notable transactions

  • June 3, 2003: Aaron Hill was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1st round (13th pick) of the 2003 amateur draft. Player signed June 17, 2003.[9]
  • June 16, 2003: Scott Service was selected off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays from the Arizona Diamondbacks.[10]
  • July 16, 2003: Bobby Kielty was traded by the Minnesota Twins to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later and Shannon Stewart. The Toronto Blue Jays sent Dave Gassner (December 15, 2003) to the Minnesota Twins to complete the trade.[11]
  • August 10, 2003: Scott Service was released by the Toronto Blue Jays.[10]

2003 Draft picks

Source [12]

The 2003 MLB Draft was held on June 3–4.

Round Pick Player Position College/School Nationality Signed
1 13 Aaron Hill SS Louisiana State United States 2003–06–17
2 50 Josh Banks RHP Florida International United States 2003–06–04
3 80 Shaun Marcum RHP Missouri State United States 2003–06–23
4 110 Kurt Isenberg LHP James Madison United States
5 140 Justin James RHP Missouri United States
6 170 Christian Snavely OF Ohio State United States
7 200 Danny Core RHP Florida Atlantic United States
8 230 Chad Mulholland RHP Missouri State United States
9 260 Jamie Vermilyea RHP New Mexico United States 2003–06–05
18 530 Ryan Roberts 3B Texas United States 2003–06–05


2003 Toronto Blue Jays
Pitchers Catchers





Game log

2003 Game Log

Player stats


Note: G = Games played; AB = At Bats; R = Runs; H = Hits; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In; Avg. = Batting Average; SB = Stolen Bases

= Indicates team leader
Player G AB R H HR RBI Avg. SB
Carlos Delgado 161 570 51 101 42 145 .302 0
Orlando Hudson 142 474 54 127 9 57 .268 5
Eric Hinske 124 449 74 109 12 63 .243 12
Vernon Wells 161 678 118 215 33 117 .317 4

Other batters

Player G AB H HR RBI Avg.


Starting pitchers

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Other pitchers

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Relief pitchers


Award winners

All-Star Game

  • Carlos Delgado, First Base
  • Roy Halladay, Pitcher
  • Vernon Wells, Outfield[14]

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Syracuse SkyChiefs International League Omar Malave
AA New Haven Ravens Eastern League Marty Pevey
A Dunedin Blue Jays Florida State League Mike Basso
A Charleston Alley Cats South Atlantic League Mark Meleski
Short-Season A Auburn Doubledays New York–Penn League Dennis Holmberg
Rookie Pulaski Blue Jays Appalachian League Paul Elliott


External links

  • 2003 Toronto Blue Jays team page at Baseball Reference
  • 2003 Toronto Blue Jays team page at www.baseball-almanac.com
Preceded by
2002 Toronto Blue Jays season
2003 Toronto Blue Jays Season
Succeeded by
2004 Toronto Blue Jays season