July 29, 2000 -- The New York Mets got shortstop Mike Bordick and reliever RickWhite, Cleveland acquired closer Bob Wickman, outfielder WilCordero and two starting pitchers, and more trades were pendingFriday as contenders prepared for the stretch run.
Bordick and Wickman, both coming off their first All-Starselections, were the biggest names to move. Oakland got into theaction, obtaining reliever Jim Mecir.
The Cleveland Indians were the busiest of all, swinging threedeals. The New York Mets and Tampa Bay each made two.
“We have 2000 in mind and that’s what we’re going to work forin the next 72 hours,” Indians general manager John Hart saidin-between trades. “We’re calling teams and they’re calling us.”
There was talk that Texas closer John Wetteland, Montrealoutfielder Rondell White and Milwaukee outfielder Jeromy Burnitzsoon might change teams, too.
The deadline for making trades without waivers is 4 p.m. EDTMonday.
“We have 2000 in mind and that’s what we’re going to work forin the next 72 hours,” Indians general manager John Hart said.“We’re calling teams and they’re calling us.”
Curt Schilling, Denny Neagle, Andy Ashby and David Justice allswitched clubs in the last month.
The Mets and Cleveland kept busy on Friday.
Unable to convince Barry Larkin to join them last weekend, theMets obtained Bordick from Baltimore for infielder-outfielderMelvin Mora and three minor leaguers—pitchers Lesli Brea and PatGorman and catcher-outfielder Mike Kinkade.
“I’m very excited with the opportunity to be in a playoffrace,” Bordick said. “The Orioles are struggling this year and tobe thrust into a playoff race is great.”
Hours later, the Mets acquired White and outfielder BubbaTrammell from Tampa Bay for outfielder Jason Tyner and pitcher PaulWilson.
“This is the time for us to make our move,” Mets generalmanager Steve Phillips said.
Indians Get Relief
The Indians, desperate for healthy arms, got Wickman, SteveWoodard and Jason Bere from Milwaukee. In return, the Brewersreceived slugger Richie Sexson, rookie pitchers Paul Rigdon andKane Davis and a player to be named.
Cleveland later got Cordero, who left the Indians after lastseason and signed a $9 million, three-year contract withPittsburgh, from the Pirates for outfielder Alex Ramirez andinfielder Enrique Wilson. Cordero was hitting .282 with 16 homeruns and 51 RBIs in 89 games.
Still busy, the Indians then sent outfielder Ricky Ledee toTexas for David Segui, who will likely play first base.
The Athletics bolstered their bullpen Friday, getting Mecir anda minor leaguer from Tampa Bay for two minor leaguers. Mecir hasbeen one of the most effective middle relievers in the AL thisseason, going 7-2 with one save and a 3.08 ERA.
Oakland also acquired Triple-A pitcher Todd Belitz for pitcherJesus Colome —one of the A’s top prospects —and a player to benamed.
In another trade, the Chicago Cubs and Anaheim swapped fiveminor leaguers.
White and Burnitz, meanwhile, were both attracting interest fromthe New York Yankees. Wetteland was mentioned in talks involvingthe Mets, St. Louis and Oakland.
There was a chance, too, Atlanta might sign recently releasedreliever Stan Belinda.The Mets talked about Bordick earlier, but were ready to give upon any deal until the Orioles called Thursday night. Bordick,eligible for free agency after the season, will join his new teamSaturday.
“We’re ecstatic to acquire a player of Bordick’s ability,”Phillips said. “We look to him to add tremendous stability to theleft side of our infield. His offensive production will be a boostas well.”
Bordick, who turned 35 last week, is hitting .297 with acareer-high 16 home runs and 59 RBI.
Fills Void at Short
Phillips had been trying to upgrade at shortstop—Mora was notthe answer—since Gold Glover Rey Ordonez broke his left arm May29. The Mets had a deal in place for Larkin, but the Cincinnatistar blocked it.
In White, the Mets got help for their overworked bullpen. He was3-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 44 games.
“White was near the top of our list,” Phillips said. “We hada number of alternatives. As we weighed them, the level of playersand the price of others was pretty significant.”
The Indians, who began the day 10½ games behind Chicago in theAL Central, were desperate for pitching help.
Woodard and Bere will immediately move into the rotation toreplace Charles Nagy and Jaret Wright, both on the disabled listand may be out until September.
Wickman, signed through 2001, has 16 saves. He is 2-2 with a2.93 ERA in 43 games. A Wisconsin native, he sounded disappointedby the deal—Saturday was Bob Wickman Poster Night at CountyStadium when Milwaukee plays Colorado.
“The trade hurts, that’s all I can say,” Wickman said.
Anaheim sent pitcher Brett Hinchcliffe and infielder KeithLuuloa to the Cubs for outfielder Chris Hatcher, pitcher MikeHeathcott and infielder Brett King.