Thanks to Scott Comeau for forwarding the following by the Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes and Chris Snow :
It would have been a bigger trade than the one that sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs: Lou Gorman says he had a nine-player deal in place with Houston that would have put Roger Clemens in an Astros uniform a dozen years ago, while bringing second baseman Craig Biggio and center fielder Steve Finley to Boston.
The 1993 deal fell apart, Gorman said yesterday, because Astros owner Drayton McLane, who had just bought the club, refused to part with Biggio. The second baseman, of course, became part of the Astros’ famous “Killer B’s,” another part being Jeff Bagwell, who was sent to the Astros by Gorman for pitcher Larry Andersen in 1990.
Finley, 40, is still playing; he signed last winter as a free agent with the Angels.
And Clemens is beginning his second season in Houston after winning his seventh Cy Young Award, his first in the National League, last season.
“I don’t know if I ever told Roger,” said Gorman, who was the team’s general manager then and is now an executive consultant. “I don’t think I ever told him. I did it with so much regret because I loved the guy. But I knew we had to turn the team around. We’d had two down years.”
Gorman is discussing the aborted trade now because it’s included in his soon-to-be-published memoirs, “One Pitch from Glory.” Gorman said he negotiated the deal in strict secrecy with Astros GM Bob Watson after Watson brought up Clemens’s name in general discussions.
“I knew Roger loved Houston because it was home,” Gorman said. “I told Watson we could talk about it, but only in the strictest confidence. I also told him that it had to be a good deal for us because Clemens was the best pitcher in the game.”
Rumors of a deal involving Clemens actually surfaced during the winter meetings that year, but Gorman denied them in the strongest possible terms, fibbing to protect the secrecy of the talks. “Roger has never asked us to trade him and we have never offered him anywhere,” Gorman told the Globe at the time.
Gorman said he and Watson worked out the deal in two conversations. The Astros were going to include pitcher Pete Harnisch, an 18-game winner, along with Finley, Biggio, catcher Eddie Taubensee and a lefthanded pitching prospect. They would have gotten a catcher in addition to Clemens.
But the third time he spoke with Watson, Gorman said, the Astros’ GM told him that McLane wouldn’t include Biggio in the deal.
“I told him, `That’s it. No deal,’ ” Gorman said.
At no other time, said Gorman, did he attempt to deal Clemens. Had the Houston trade gone through, perhaps Gorman’s own future would have been altered. A couple of months later, he was replaced as Sox GM by Dan Duquette.