Williams could go to Rockies
November 20, 2002
IRVING, Texas — The Colorado Rockies put together their second big trade within a week, agreeing Tuesday to a tentative deal that would send Larry Walker to Arizona for Matt Williams and three other players
Arizona also would send first baseman Erubiel Durazo, outfielder David Dellucci and reliever Bret Prinz to Colorado for the 1997 National League MVP.
Walker and Williams, both five-time All-Stars, must waive no-trade clauses for the deal to be completed. Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo said the teams were granted a 72-hour window Tuesday to finalize the swap.
“I met with Matt this morning. I’m going to speak with Larry tonight,” Colangelo said after arriving at the baseball owners’ meetings. “Colorado is going to meet with Matt tomorrow in Phoenix.”
Arizona, which won the World Series in its fourth season in 2001, won the NL West again this year but was swept by St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs.
The Rockies finished fourth in the NL West this year at 73-89, 25 games behind the Diamondbacks. Colorado chairman Jerry McMorris said it was difficult to part with Walker, an outfielder who has won three National League batting titles.
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“He’s our most popular player,” McMorris said. “I think our baseball people felt we had a lot of holes and this gives us four players for one. And Larry’s 36 years old.”
On Monday, the Rockies began their transformation, completing a deal that sent left-hander Mike Hampton, outfielder Juan Pierre and $6.5 million to Florida for catcher Charles Johnson, outfielder Preston Wilson, left-hander Vic Darensbourg and second baseman Pablo Ozuna. The Marlins then dealt Hampton and $30 million to Atlanta for right-handers Tim Spooneybarger and Ryan Baker.
In the Hampton deal, Colorado rid itself of $72 million in Hampton’s salary over the next six seasons but took on $54 million it must pay to Wilson and Johnson over the next three years.
Walker has said he is likely to waive his no-trade clause. Colangelo said he didn’t know if Williams, who lives in the Phoenix area, would waive his no-trade clause.
“We’re very sensitive to Matt’s desires,” he said.
Diamondbacks general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. already has spoken with Walker’s agent, Pat Rooney, according to Colangelo.
Walker who turns 36 on Dec. 1, and Williams, who turns 37 on Nov. 28, both have been sidelined by injuries in recent years. Both also make big money.
Williams is owed $10 million next year, of which $5 million is deferred at 6 percent interest. Walker is owed $38.5 million — salaries of $12.5 million in each of the next three seasons, plus a $1 million buyout of a $15 million mutual option for 2006. Both $6 million of his 2003 salary and the buyout will be deferred at 5.14 percent interest.
Williams, who has missed 292 games the past three seasons because of injuries, hit .260 this year with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 215 at-bats. He broke his left leg and dislocated the ankle on Feb. 25 and didn’t return until July 11.
Craig Counsell, who is recovering from a neck injury, could become his replacement at third base.
Walker hit a team-high .338 this year with 26 homers and 104 RBIs in 477 at-bats, and has averaged 30 homers, 90 RBIs and a .340 batting average in seven seasons with Colorado.