John Hart and Carlos Baerga were in Cleveland this weekend getting inducted into the Indians Hall of Fame. Hart, the Tribe’s GM during the mid-90s run, reminisced about some of the deals that got away. He told the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto that while he doesn’t regret not trading Jaret Wright (along with Bartolo Colon and others) to the Expos for Pedro Martinez, he really wishes his 1998 deal for Randy Johnson would’ve gone through.
But Hart still regrets coming within a few minutes of adding Randy Johnson in 1998 in a deal with Seattle. He had an offer of at least five players on the table, including Dave Burba, Brian Giles and Richie Sexson. “I thought we had a deal,” said Hart. “But two minutes left before the trade deadline, [Seattle General Manager] Woody Woodward called back and said they were trading him to Houston.”
Brian Giles, Richie Sexson and Dave Burba?!??! Oh. My. God. After the trade deadline, Johnson was an absolute beast for the Houston Astros, going 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA in eleven starts. He notched 116 strikeouts in just 84.1 innings pitched. That is insane. The trade (or moving to the NL) seemed to energize the Big Unit, as pre-deadline he was rather pedestrian, going 9-10 with a with a 4.33 ERA in 23 starts for the Mariners.
The Indians went up 2-1 on the Yankees in the 1998 ACLS before eventually falling 4-2. Tribe starters Dwight Gooden, Chad Ogea and Charles Nagy took the loss in each of the final three games.
The Big Unit in an Indians uniform. For Brian Giles, Dave Burba and Richie Sexson. Wow. In no way is this depressing.