Gonzo deal was masterstroke

Nobody knows their players better than the Atlanta Braves, Garagiola said, recalling a trade he almost made with that franchise not so long ago.

The pitcher Garagiola wanted was a fairly big name in the game, but the Braves didn’t ask for as much as he thought they would in return.

“That fact alone raised my suspicions,” he said.

Sure enough, the pitcher the Diamondbacks had been targeting – and for whom they had been almost ready to give up some decent young talent – seemed to have lost his skills during the off-season.

The Diamondbacks found out for themselves by jetting over to Florida to scout the pitcher in a spring training game. Garagiola received a phone call advising him to back out of the deal.

He did.

Who’s he talking about? Millwood? Hampton? Maddux and Glavine were ten-and-five men, and Garagiola couldn’t exactly bring up Ortiz in this context.

(Via Primer.)

34 thoughts on “Gonzo!”

  1. Sounds more like someone who was doing really well one year, then came in and didn’t do so hot in spring training. I’d also believe, given the D’backs financial woes of the recent past & their few large salaries, that it wasn’t someone who made a lot of money, excluding most of the players on that list. It could be Millwood, but he was traded in December 2002 after a pretty good 2002 season…doesn’t really match up. Similarly, it doesn’t match up for Damian Moss, either.

    I guess the question then becomes, is it someone still around or someone not? I thought maybe Jason Marquis, who did struggle for awhile, but he’s done much better lately. I do think it’s someone along those lines, however — relatively young, probably already in (or at least near) the majors, and relatively cheap. Trey Hodges? Jung Bong? Someone along those lines, perhaps.

  2. He says “fairly big name”, which likely means at least Major League starter.

    He could just be making it up.

  3. Could it be a closer like Wohlers?

    I’m so curious now. I have to know if he’s making it up or getting things confused.

  4. Clark’s right about the timing with Moss. It was a December trade. Doesn’t fit with the narrative.

  5. Not too long ago? About to trade for some young players? That last part is what gets me. I can see how Atlanta may have been looking to deal for Gonzales or Finley at some point maybe, but a “big name” in exchange for “young talent”? Could it have been Rocker before the explosion? Only Millwood seems to fit all the details… except, of course, the most critical one: time of year.

    Must be somebody the Braves never ended up dealing at all.

  6. Who flopped after a good year, unrelated to injury? Assuming you can believe the “lost his skills” characterization, that has to have been what happened. Horacio not only doesn’t seem to meet that because he never had said skills (heh heh, I’m such an ass), but also because he was hurt last year. Millwood fits that description before he was ultimately dealt. He would have fit it pretty damn well in the 2000 season.

  7. We don’t know, but I’m betting it’s Horacio. As for his “skills” being lost, that’s just baseball people being baseball people. He’s the same pitcher he was but he wasn’t getting anyone out, so he’s lost his skills rather than going from lucky to unlucky.

  8. Wohlers sounds better the more I think about it. Ramirez was never a “fairly big name”. For a while, Wohlers was.

  9. I don’t think it’s Wohlers, because he was already in obvious decline in 1997 and the D-Backs didn’t start play until 1998. And that was almost a decade ago now. Even if it was spring of ’98, the D-Backs didn’t have any prospects yet because they barely had a farm system.

    Clontz was a joke, I assume… He wasn’t even with the Braves anymore when the D-Backs began play.

  10. Of course, Mac. I completely forgot about the Diamondbacks’ existence factor.

    I guess Millwood, then.

  11. First name i thought of: John Burkett

    That’s what I thought.

    I highly doubt it was Ramirez. He neither qualifies as a “big name” nor were the braves ever likely looking to move him for younger players.

    I think Neagle is also a possibility, depending on how one defines “not so long ago”.

  12. I think Neagle runs into the same problem as Mac pointed out. Arizona was just too new.

    Also, he was dealt in November.

    Just by process of elimination, it’s looking like Millwood prior to the 2000 season.

  13. Millwood doesn’t strike me as right; for one thing he was traded in December, wasn’t he? And had Garagiola scouted him the preceding spring, that’d have been right before he went 18-8, 3.24.

  14. Colin, you’re right on those factors. Millwood was dealt in a December move around arbitration time — remember the whole Maddux deal — and that plus his great season (stats-wise) just before the deal makes it unlikely, at least to me, that it’s him.

    I don’t think it’s Burkett, either. His first season here wasn’t so good, while his second was — and then he was a free agent. You can’t do sign-and-trade deals in baseball — he signed with Boston that December (2001) anyway — so I tend to think it’s not him, either.

    I’m starting to think it might be a reliever, or at least Jason Marquis. He at least was/is well-known around baseball circles and could’ve brought back some prospects. Then again, we may never really be able to pin it down.

  15. Y’all misunderstand. What creynolds thinks, and I now agree, is that he’s referring to Millwood prior to the 2000 season. Millwood would have been coming off that stellar 1999 season and have a couple more years in Atlanta before he was eventually traded.

  16. I was thinking it’s Damian Moss, but others have pointed out that timeline doesn’t work. How about Bruce chen? He came up as a heralded top prospect, does that qualify as a fairly big name in the game? Probably not. Neagle would have been my guess, but that story doesn’t seem to fit either.

    I suspect it was Maddux. perhaps JS tried to trade him the year that he accepted arbitration. I want to think i heard a rumor of AZ having interest in maddux back then. JS tries, AZ doesn’t bite, next year Maddux drops to his worst season in over a decade; no trade is made.

  17. Mac’s point about Maddux being a five and ten man is still valid, of course, but for awhile there many people extrapolated MadDog’s living in Las Vegas into a desire to play in AZ.It was a Gammons-Jayson Stark type tidbit.
    Who do you think misses Andruw most-Maddux or Glavine?

  18. Boy, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.

    I don’t think it was Millwood. I don’t think JS ever wanted to trade him. He was lights out angry when he had to after Maddux’s arbitration fiasco.

    Quite honestly, I think it was Jose Cappellan. I know that doesn’t strike you at first as a “big name,” but this time last year everyone thought he was going to be in the Braves starting rotation come 2005. The Rangers seem always to be in need of starting pitching, and last year. the Braves were looking at potential closers. The Braves had a fixed budget … well, Kolb makes $3.4 milllion this year, Cordero makes $3.8 (this is his last year before FAgency).

  19. “The Diamondbacks found out for themselves by jetting over to Florida to scout the pitcher in a spring training game. ”

    This rules out Millwood right? I know JS claimed to call all 29 teams in the game and the Phillies were the only ones that would bite without demanding that another big contract was sent in return so i can see him calling AZ about Millwood but the above implies that AZ saw the pitcher in the spring right before they were gonna make the deal meaning Millwood wouldntve fit

  20. Again, creynolds’ hypothesis is that this hypothetical deal would have happened years before the Philly deal.

  21. ‘all misunderstand. What creynolds thinks, and I now agree, is that he’s referring to Millwood prior to the 2000 season. Millwood would have been coming off that stellar 1999 season and have a couple more years in Atlanta before he was eventually traded

    Good point, I somehow glossed over that when I first read it.

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