Friday was great deal of fun, for some

August 02, 1998|By Jayson Stark | Jayson Stark,PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

PHILADELPHIA -- Randy Johnson became a midnight cowboy. The Yankees and Indians came up Unit-less and deal-less. And the Rangers might have outdealt everyone.

Those were the highlights of Friday's madcap trade-deadline doings.

Let's take a look:

The Mariners and Astros

While the Yankees and Indians tried to protect themselves from each other, the Astros slipped in and Unit-napped Johnson from Seattle at the deadline -- for multi-talented shortstop prospect Carlos Guillen, live-armed right-hander Freddy Garcia, and a player to be named.

Seattle could have gotten more from the Yankees or Indians if Johnson had shown a willingness to sign an extension.

But at least the Mariners got "some" return for their marquee pitcher, while Houston came away with a chance to steal October from the Braves and Padres.

The Rangers

While the Angels did nothing, the Rangers made themselves a more legitimate October force by adding Todd Stottlemyre and Royce Clayton from the Cardinals and Todd Zeile from the Marlins.

"I love what Texas did," an American League scout said. "I like every guy they got better than the guy he's replacing."

The Dodgers

It's apparently playoffs or bust for general manager Tommy Lasorda. He already had given up one big-time prospect in Paul Konerko. To get Carlos Perez and Mark Grudzielanek from Montreal, he gave up two more -- in left-hander Ted Lilly and center fielder Peter Bergeron -- plus the still-promising Wilton Guerrero.

"They'd better make the playoffs after giving all those guys up," a National League executive said.

The Orioles

One day after owner Peter Angelos killed a deal for Juan Guzman, he backed off. So the Orioles get the revived Guzman, who had a 2.01 ERA in his last eight starts for Toronto.

Braves, Yankees, Indians

The Braves made a big run at Royals closer Jeff Montgomery, but backed off when Kansas City asked for one of three hot prospects: Bruce Chen, Odalis Perez or George Lombard.

They'll either move John Smoltz to the bullpen in October or see how far Kerry Ligtenberg can take them.

The Yankees didn't mind not getting Johnson as long as the Indians didn't. The Indians came up empty in bids for Johnson, Perez and Roger Clemens. So Bartolo Colon and Jaret Wright had better have great postseasons.

The Mets

Tony Phillips? Willie Blair? Jorge Fabregas? If those three guys cause people in New York to get wild-card fever, they should take two Tylenols and hope it subsides.

The Giants

Ellis Burks is a bona fide hitter who should help the Giants. But unless the player to be named going to the Rockies is a front-line prospect to go with 33-year-old Darryl Hamilton, an impending free agent, and 26-year-old reliever James Stoops, who is in his fourth year of Single-A ball, this doesn't make much sense for Colorado.

The Phillies

They apparently made a decision going into the shopping season that they weren't going to take any young players who weren't at least in Double-A. And that kept them from getting serious with the Braves, Cubs or Red Sox, among other teams. It's believed that they at least inquired about Perez, but that the price was out of hand.

The Phillies' best chance to make a big trade was to deal a catcher, and they won't do that until this winter. Still, it's hard to believe the deadline came and went without somebody swapping a prospect for Mark Leiter or Mark Portugal.

Pub Date: 8/02/98

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