August 11, 2011
One of the most famous moments in MLB All-Star game history was John Kruk’s at bat against Randy Johnson in the 1993 Midsummer Classic. In an article by Sam Donnellon in the Daily News in 2011, Kruk claims that at the time that at-bat happened, the Phillies were talking to the Mariners about a trade for Randy Johnson.
“If you remember the trade deadline, we had a chance to get Randy Johnson and they didn’t want to give up, I think, Mike Lieberthal,” the Krukker was saying yesterday. “Either him or Tyler Green . . . “
“Look, I love Lieby, he’s one of my favorite people. But, at the time, I wish he was a Mariner.”
It’s funny, because we talk all the time about bad trades in sports, but you don’t hear as much about terrible non-trades. This was obviously a disastrous non-trade. There’s not much about it online. The best I could do was finding some discussion of a Phillies offer in February of 1993.
Philadelphia offered young players such as right-handers Brad Brink, Steve Paris and Mike Williams, first baseman Ricky Jordan and outfielder Wes Chamberlain. Brink was 8-2 at Class AAA Scranton and 0-4 in eight games with the Phillies. Paris was 5-7 at Class AA Reading and 3-3 at Scranton. Williams was 9-1 with Scranton and 1-1 with the Phillies. Jordan batted .304 with only four homers. Chamberlain has more power, nine homers, but hit only .258.
“There was a time last season when I thought something had a chance to be done,” (then Phillies) General Manager Lee Thomas said. “But I don’t think we’re in the hunt anymore.”
According to Krukker, they were still in the hunt all the way until the 1993 trade deadline, but Thomas wouldn’t pull the trigger. Bad move. Tyler Green finished his career 18-25. Lieberthal was obviously a good player, but anyone who wouldn’t deal him for Randy Johnson would be nuts. The Phillies back then were either too scared or too cheap to get rid of prospects for superstars, and you have to wonder how incredible the ’93 Phillies would have been with Schilling and Johnson for the stretch run. Actually, no you don’t. Just watch highlights of the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series.