After watching Mariano Rivera make people look foolish for fifteen years it’s impossible to picture him in another uniform, but that almost came to pass once upon a time:
In 1995 [Gene Michael] considered trading Rivera to the Tigers for
David Wells. At the time Rivera was still trying to make it as a
starter, still throwing in the low 90s, and when Michael asked the
Tigers what they would want in a deal for Wells, Rivera was one of the
names they put on a list.
The thing about it is that, in 1995 anyway, everyone on the planet
would have considered that a steal for the Yankees. Wells was 10-3 with
a 3.04 ERA in half a season for the Tigers that year. Rivera was a
project of a starting pitcher who really only had one pitch in his
repertoire. Still does, of course, but no one knew how good a pitch it
For the record, the Tigers ended up getting C.J. Nitkowski, Mark
Lewis and something called “David Tuttle” for Wells. When Wells
eventually did come to the Yankees, they only had to give up $12
million or so for him the first time and $5.5 million the second time.
In salary, anyway. I can only assume he doubled that expense in per
diems, antacids, plumbing expenses, Gold Bond powder and stuff like
Still, a much better deal than having to part with Mo.
The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.
Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.
While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.