Adding Curt Schilling to a staff that includes
Randy Johnson, the Arizona Diamondbacks head into the pennant race
with one of the most powerful 1-2 pitching combinations in
“Koufax and Drysdale come to mind,” Arizona general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said after Wednesday’s 4-for-1 trade with Philadelphia. “I’ll take these two guys.”
Schilling, who had pushed for a deal to a contender, is headed home to Phoenix in exchange for first baseman-outfielder Travis Lee and pitchers Omar Daal, Vicente Padilla and Nelson Figueroa.
“I will leave here with nothing but the best memories on and off the field,” Schilling said during a news conference at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. “I was booed so much less than I probably deserve to be booed here, which I don’t think too many people leaving Philly can say.
“It’s not as tough as you think because it’s all pretty much my fault. I would create problems that shouldn’t have been made.”
Will Start Friday
Arizona, the defending NL West champion, began Wednesday in first place, one game ahead of San Francisco. Schilling is to make his Diamondbacks’ debut Friday at Florida.
“There aren’t many teams who have a couple of number ones on the roster on their pitching staff like we feel we do with Randy and Curt Schilling,” Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo said. “This could be a very significant addition in a very tight pennant race.”
As part of the deal, Schilling waived his right to demand a trade following the season, a power given to veterans traded while under a multiyear contract.
“He can only pitch once every fifth day,” manager Buck Showalter said before the Diamondbacks played at St. Louis. “Hopefully, this will be a new chapter for us. We’ve taken a lot of blows after 100 games and we’re still standing.”
Free Agent After 2001 Season
Schilling recently told the Phillies there were about a half-dozen teams he would allow himself to be dealt to. He is making $5.65 million this season and is signed for next season at $6.5 million. After the 2001 season, he becomes eligible for free agency.
“The reality of the deal is that we are giving up, obviously, one of the top starting pitchers in all of baseball,” Phillies general manager Ed Wade said. “In getting these four players, we answer a lot of needs. Did we get Curt Schilling back in this deal? Obviously we didn’t.”
Yanks, Mets in Hunt
Monday is the deadline for making deals without waivers. The New York Yankees also had been talking to Philadelphia about Schilling, a baseball executive said on the condition of anonymity, but the extent of their interest was unclear. The New York Mets also had been interested.
The Cleveland Indians made a run at Schilling last week. St. Louis and Seattle also were considered contenders to land the 33-year-old pitcher. The Cardinals offered outfielder J.D. Drew and pitcher Matt Morris, one source said.
“We explored it quite extensively with every club that was on the list,” Wade said. “He made it clear that if the opportunity presents itself, he wouldn’t stand in the way. Obviously it wasn’t a great surprise to him that this happened.”
Schilling (6-6) started clearing out his locker Tuesday. The starter in last year’s All-Star game, he had shoulder surgery in the off-season and struggled at first after rejoining the Phillies.
Coming on Strong