Tuesday, December 23, 2003
No deal means regret for so many
By Tim Kurkjian ESPN The Magazine
Editor's note: This story originally aired on SportsCenter.
Now that the biggest trade in the history of baseball has fallen through, it's going to be a big disappointment for a number of teams, a number of players, countless fans and for the game.
Alex Rodriguez will remain with the Rangers for the foreseeable future.
The discontent begins with Alex Rodriguez, who essentially was the first to push the idea of this trade. He wants to win, and returning to the Rangers means at least a couple of more years of losing. His return also means that financial handcuffs remain on the Rangers, preventing them from using the money saved on A-Rod's contract -- roughly $100 million -- to go out and get what they seriously need: pitching.
The regret also includes the Red Sox, who lose out on the chance to add the game's best player and one of baseball's premier outfielders, Magglio Ordonez, to a team that's already filled with stars. Manny Ramirez, who has been placed on waivers and nearly traded by the Red Sox this offseason, will have a difficult time returning to Boston. Not as difficult, however, as it will be for star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, whose job was given to someone else without his knowledge. Plus, he didn't exactly receive compassion and support from certain teammates when it appeared he might be traded.
The White Sox are unhappy, also. They are cutting payroll, and this was their chance to move Ordonez's $14 million salary in 2004 in exchange for Garciaparra, who, then could be moved to the Dodgers for pitching help, including Odalis Perez and Guillermo Mota. The Dodgers, more than perhaps any team, desperately need a hitter. Now that the trade is off, they won't get Garciaparra, which continues their offensive woes.
Commissioner Bud Selig has to be sad, too, now that the trade is nixed. Having the Red Sox in the playoffs brings big TV ratings -- they would have been even higher if A-Rod had joined the Red Sox rather than being lost in Texas. And the Players Association likely is disappointed because of the disappointment shared by so many of its star players. Still, rules are rules, and Gene Orza of the Players Association won't bend rules to approve the deal.
It is a trade that would have benefited so many if it had happened, and now depresses so many that it didn't.
Tim Kurkjian is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and a regular contributor to Baseball Tonight. E-mail email@example.com.