There he was on display again Tuesday, one of the few Diamondbacks stars left from the 2001 World Series winners, giving his usual all-out effort in another losing cause.
Steve Finley, that is.
Like ace Randy Johnson — the losing pitcher in Tuesday's 3-1 victory by the San Francisco Giants at Bank One Ballpark — Finley has been the subject of trade talk between the D-Backs and other teams.
An industry source said Finley is likely to approve a trade to a contender, and that Texas, Philadelphia and Florida have been the most aggressive pursuers.
In light of the team's losing ways and the swirling Johnson saga, the source said of Finley: “I think he's ready to go. I think he would not block it.”
The Diamondbacks have lost nine straight, the second-longest skid in team history (to the 11-game slide last month). Arizona's six-game home losing streak is a franchise record, and the team has lost 25 of 29 overall, the first such stretch since San Diego went 4-25 early last year (April 26-May 27).
Johnson — who has said he would consider waiving his no-trade clause to go to a contender — dropped to 10-8 despite allowing only two earned runs in seven innings as two New York Yankees scouts looked on.
San Francisco's Jerome Williams (9-6) improved to 3-0 in three career head-to-head meetings with Johnson, allowing just four hits and one unearned run in seven-plus innings.
As a “10-and-5” player — 10 years in the majors, the past five with the same team — Finley has the right to veto any trade. But he doesn't want to talk about scenarios.
“It's useless for me to even speculate,” said Finley, tied for sixth in the National League with 22 home runs. “The only thing that I've asked of the club is that I don't want it to go down to the 11th hour.”
Finley is eligible for free agency after the season. Even if the D-Backs deal Finley, it seems he and the team are open to his return in 2005.
An NL source told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the Marlins have made Finley their primary trade target. A Florida scout has been monitoring Arizona during the homestand (with an eye on catcher Brent Mayne as well).
Florida's available prospects could include Class AA pitchers Bill Murphy, Trevor Hutchinson and Randy Messenger and first baseman Jason Stokes.
An official with one team attempting to land Finley would not be specific in what the D-Backs had asked for but said “they are looking for the best deal they can make.”
Much speculation about Finley has centered on San Diego, where he once played and still makes his home. But the Padres apparently have not made competitive offers.