The Red Sox send an All-Star shortstop to the Cubs and the Yankees settle for a deal with the White Sox on deadline day.
By Associated Press
Published August 1, 2004
In a dizzying flurry of deals, the Red Sox sent star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs in a four-team swap right before the trade deadline.
Steve Finley, Esteban Loaiza and Orlando Cabrera also switched teams in the eight trades that came less than an hour before the 4 p.m. deadline.
"My initial reaction was, "Wow,' " Garciaparra said.
Randy Johnson, however, remained with the Diamondbacks. The Yankees desperately wanted him, and instead wound up trading Jose Contreras to the White Sox for Loaiza in a swap of starting pitchers.
With more than 20 teams still in the playoff hunt, a lot of clubs were eager for action. AL West-leading Texas nearly got Larry Walker - the Colorado slugger turned down a trade - and Rockies catcher Charles Johnson nixed a deal to Los Angeles. But those old October heartbreakers, the Red Sox and Cubs, were busy.
Garciaparra was wearing his Boston jersey when manager Terry Francona called a team meeting before the game at Minnesota. Then, the news spread inside the clubhouse.
"If it was in my control, I'd still be wearing a Red Sox uniform, because it's the place I know, I love. All of those fans, I'll always remember," Garciaparra said. "But I'm also going to another great place. I'm going to a phenomenal city with great tradition as well, phenomenal fans, great organization. Hopefully, we'll see them in the World Series."
Cubs GM Jim Hendry was ecstatic to get Garciaparra, in the last year of his contract: "I think he will bring a ton to the table and a presence on the field and off. You never go to work thinking he's going to be available."
Garciaparra, 31, is batting .321 with five home runs and 21 RBIs in 38 games this season. He missed the first 57 games of the season with an injured Achilles' tendon.
The Red Sox wound up with Cabrera, Montreal's Gold Glove shortstop, and Minnesota first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, a Gold Glover.
The Cubs got Garciaparra and minor-league outfielder Matt Murton. Montreal acquired Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez, pitcher Francis Beltran and infielder Brendan Harris and the Twins got minor-league pitcher Justin Jones.
"It was complicated - so many teams," Twins GM Terry Ryan said. "I can see why things get bogged down. I don't know if deadlines are a good thing or not."
Johnson stayed put despite drawing interest from several teams. The five-time Cy Young winner had a no-trade clause in his contract.
"I wasn't shocked one way or the other. I didn't say I wanted to leave," he said. "Nobody came to me about anything. No one has ever come to me. Nothing ever transpired. Nothing."
The NL West-leading Dodgers were active, making three trades.
After Finley agreed to accept a deal to Los Angeles, the Diamondbacks traded the four-time Gold Glove centerfielder with catcher Brent Mayne. The 39-year-old Finley hit .274 with 23 home runs and 48 RBIs for Arizona.
"I want to thank the Diamondbacks for 51/2 years, probably the best 51/2 years of my career," Finley said. "We were successful and won a World Series. I'm thankful they've given me an opportunity to possibly win another ring."
The Dodgers sent minor-league catcher Koyie Hill, outfielder Reggie Abercrombie and left-hander Bill Murphy to Arizona. They got Murphy on Friday in a trade with the Marlins.
Los Angeles then traded centerfielder Dave Roberts to Boston for minor-league outfielder Henri Stanley. Earlier, the Dodgers sent left-handed reliever Tom Martin to Atlanta for minor-league left-hander Matt Merricks in a trade between division leaders.
After getting shut out on Johnson, the Yankees swapped the inconsistent Contreras and $3-million for Loaiza, a 21-game winner last season.