Deals That Never Happened: Part II
Yesterday, we ran through the 1996 deadline deals that went nowhere when Pat Gillick supposedly brought the deals to Peter Angelos’ desk. Today, we address a couple more deals. One is a trade and the other is a pretty well known free agent signing blowup. One more thing, I was asked yesterday where these failed deals came from. Well, I made sure to include an article that gives references to the deal, but, beyond that, these are deals based on my experience and through various contacts where I think these trades were close to being completed. Of course, there are assumptions at play, so take it for what it is worth.
Deal #1 (LA Times / Sporting News)
Orioles receive RF Shawn Green
Blue Jays receive COF Jeffrey Hammonds
As I understand how this all transpired, one of the first moves Frank Wren considered when he took the mantle from Pat Gillick was dealing promising corner outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds for equally promising Shawn Green. It was essentially one of those old challenge trades. Hammonds was a toolsy player who excelled when healthy. Shawn Green was a prototypical right fielder who was more value for his power potential than the reality that he also had some great tools as well.
As mentioned in the previous post in this series, this deal hit the brakes supposedly when it went to Angelos’ desk as he wish to develop Hammonds as his own home grown talent. Half a season later, Hammonds had not broken out and the Orioles dealt him for Willie Greene who had shown a decent bat, but completely fell apart. The Orioles wound up releasing Greene after that half season while Hammonds put in useful seasons for the next three or four years.
What about the other side?
Eight seasons. This deal would have resolved right field for eight years. Where the Burnitz deal was understandably a poor deal as Bonilla wound up being quite useful in the Orioles run to the playoffs, this one could have greatly changed the Orioles’ history. Green monster 1999 to 2002 run may have enabled the team to have been more flexible in acquiring talent. It may have opened up the front office to find useful young talent instead of having to hit up retreads.
Of course, to think Green alone would have kept this franchise from reaching the bottom of the barrel is a bit naive. The late 90s an early 00s led this team into a dark time with respect to how the organization was being run. Perhaps more faith in Wren could have changed things, but perhaps not.
Deal #2 (Seattle Times)
Orioles agreed to terms with Aaron Sele (4y/29MM) pending a medical exam.
So the story goes that Angelos’ front office took medical exams much more seriously after Xavier Hernandez signed a contract with the Orioles on a 2 year, 2.5 MM contract, but he wound up having a tear in his rotator cuff. Sele’s shoulder looked rough and Angelos rescinded the contract. Sele wound up signing a 2 year deal with the Mariners for 15 MM.
The Mariners wound up doing pretty well getting five bWAR over two years. The Angels though wound up getting the short end as they signed Sele to a three year deal that saw him as a below replacement level pitcher (-0.3 bWAR). So, Angelos decision wound up be the accurate one. I am not sure the thought process was especially accurate, but you cannot argue with his concern about the medical report and Sele winding up hurting that shoulder during what would have been the third year of the Orioles’ contract. Additionally, one has to wonder why the best deal Sele could get was a two year deal with the Mariners.
Conclusion on the Second Part of this Series
What is interesting about the moves we have heard Angelos being involved in is that he supposedly was accurate a great deal of the time. Is this him being a reasonably intelligent man using logic or may it be him having the wrong people in control? Maybe it is something else. So far we have gone through five deals and really only the Shawn Green one looks like a slam dunk in retrospect.