First, Finley. The Dodgers traded power for speed. In addition to adding Finley, the Dodgers also moved Dave Roberts to Boston for a minor leaguer. The Dodgers outfield is now set with Milton Bradley in left, Steve Finley in center, and Shawn Green in right. Newly acquired Hee Seop Choi is the first baseman, Alex Cora at second, Cezar Izturis is the SS and Adrian Beltre is at 3B. Choi of course came over from the Marlins in the deal that sent Paul LoDuca to Florida, which was supposed to be no big deal because the Dodgers had worked out a deal with Colorado for Charles Johnson.
Oops. The Dodgers might have history, but they were at the mercy of no-trade clauses with Finley, Randy Johnson, and Charles Johnson, and we know for sure at least one Johnson (Charles) said, "No, thank you." The Rockies catcher invoked his no trade clause and shunned the Dodgers, leaving them without an everyday catcher. Thus Mayne gets included in the Finley deal, and this might be the first clue as to why the Big Unit is still a snake.
A source inside the Diamondbacks front office told FutureBacks.com that there was a deal in place to send both Johnson and Finley to the Dodgers, but when the Dodgers lost Charles Johnson, suddenly they wanted to include Mayne in the deal. The Diamondbacks asked for another player, the Dodgers were unhappy with the D'Backs selection, and suddenly things broke down.
So the deal became Finley and Mayne, and the Dodgers give up Koyie Hill, Billy Murphy, and Reggie Abercrombie. Hill and Murphy were expected, it is believed that the Dodgers insisted on getting Murphy from the Marlins in the LoDuca trade because they knew the Diamondbacks were interested the young lefty. Abercrombie is another matter. A young, well built outfielder who has a chiseled frame and incredible speed, Abercrombie suffered a knee injury at the beginning of last season, and since his come back this season has struck out 99 times in 301 at bats between A ball Vero Beach and AA Jacksonville. The Diamondbacks are obviously intrigued by his speed (19 stolen bases between his two minor league teams this season) but with so much outfield youth in the system (Luis Terrero, Carlos Quentin, and Conor Jackson figure to be the Diamondbacks outfield sooner than later) it seems an odd choice. Without the Unit in the deal the Dodgers were unlikely to deal either Chad Billingsly or Edwin Jackson, two highly touted pitching prospects that were reportedly involved in the original Johnson/Finley deal.
It may be that the deal was fine, but Randy Johnson nixed it himself with his no-trade clause. Earlier in the week Johnson it had been widely reported that Johnson told Diamondbacks management that it was the Yankees or no one. ESPN reported yesterday that the Diamondbacks had asked Johnson to reconsider the Dodgers, and that Randy had said he would think about it. When Johnson took the mound last night against the Rockies many believed that meant he would be staying in Arizona, simply because if he were to be traded the Dodgers would want him ready to start as soon as possible, and avoid the possibility of injury.
All along the Diamondbacks said they wanted Major League ready players. Koyie Hill appears to be that player. In addition to power, Hill has shown a strong arm behind the plate, and according to one scout, the fact that Hill has handled many of the Dodgers good young arms was a big draw for the Diamondbacks, who's staff will seemingly get younger and younger over the next two years.
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Billy Murphy has been on the fast track ever since signing with the Marlins, and was a prized prospect that the Diamondbacks were after. He was to be a key in the potential deals that would have sent Finley to the Marlins, and then he was apparently just as big a part of a potential Johnson to LA deal as was Brad Penny. A left handed starter with a low nineties, strikeout ready, fastball and good control, Murphy could be in the Diamondbacks starting rotation on opening day 2005.
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Abercrombie on the other hand is a project, and one the Diamondbacks are hoping can be rushed. While he won't be expected at the Major League level for at least two years his speed is the type that combined with a decent on-base percentage could become a prototypical lead off man.
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