Analysis: Backs avoid deadline gaffe - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Analysis: Backs avoid deadline gaffe

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Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2005 6:37 am | Updated: 9:18 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Had the Diamondbacks wanted to abandon their young, they could have made several splashy moves at the trading deadline.

All they would have had to do was part with some of their future.

Potential trading partners began by asking for return packages that included at least one top young player from among Chad Tracy, Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, Dustin Nippert or Sergio Santos.

When things had not changed much in the final hours, the D-Backs had an easy call.

Thanks, but no thanks.

The offers almost made them chuckle, not counter.

“For a middle reliever?” one D-Backs official said.

Once the D-Backs purchased first baseman Jackson on Wednesday, they seemed satisfied that they had addressed an offense that led the major leagues in runners left on base at the time. Any talk about obtaining Adam Dunn, Wily Mo Pena or another power bat became moot.

While the defensive adjustments — Shawn Green to center field, Tracy to right — were a consideration, the D-Backs were able to replace departed Jose Cruz Jr. with a much more potent bat, either Tony Clark or Jackson.

Green showed himself capable of covering a lot of ground in center field when he went deep into the gap in left-center to catch Jody Gerut's line drive near the wall.

And with closer Brandon Lyon on schedule to rejoin the team on its next road trip, which begins Aug. 9, the D-Backs felt comfortable enough with the back end of the bullpen to settle in on adding a left-hander.

Seattle wanted Jackson or Tracy for Eddie Guardado, pitching with a torn rotator cuff and a $4.5 million 2006 contract. The price was about as steep for the Mariners' Ron Villone and Kansas City's Jeremy Affeldt.

By adding left-hander Buddy Groom, the D-Backs lost only a player to be named or cash.

Groom addressed the D-Backs' needs while ensuring their young players remain in place.

At deadline time, that can be easier said than done.

Or did Boston not need Jeff Bagwell?

Bagwell is the poster guy for the perils of dealing a top prospect on deadline.

Boston traded Bagwell, a Double-A prospect at the time, to Houston for reliever Larry Andersen on Aug. 31, 1990, hoping that a veteran arm would help it down the stretch.

Instead, that deal helped turn Houston into a perennial contender.

While Bagwell has missed much of this season with a shoulder injury, he was the 1994 NL MVP and seems a certain Hall of Famer, with 449 home runs and 202 stolen bases in his 14 seasons. The Red Sox did not make the playoffs in 1990.

The White Sox's Jon Garland and Texas' Michael Young are two other recent examples.

The Cubs sent minor leaguer Garland to the South side for reliever Matt Karchner on July 29, 1998, a cross-town steal that looks better every year. Garland leads the AL with 15 victories this season; Karchner has not played since 2000.

Toronto traded Young and a young pitcher for Esteban Loaiza on July, 19, 2000, trying to solidify its starting rotation.

Young, the Rangers' shortstop, has become one of the best players in the AL, with consecutive 200-hit seasons in 2003-04. Loaiza won 20 games in 2001-02 with the Blue Jays and 21 alone in 2003, but that was with the White Sox, who signed him as a free agent following the 2002 season.

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