Rugby World Cup
This Week's Issue
Life of Reilly
SI for Women
CNN/SI - TV
Golf Pro Shop
MLB Gear Store
NFL Gear Store
SI FOR KIDS
The business of baseball
Yankees shocked by Wells' departure
Posted: Friday February 19, 1999 12:04 PM
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- David Wells was in tears. Joe Torre said his clubhouse was in shock.
"There's going to be a lot of bars going out of business in New York," Cone said.
Wells relished his biker-and-six pack image, especially since his perfect game against Minnesota last May made him the talk of the town and the talk shows.
"The thing about Boomer, he almost became a cult hero overnight," Cone said. "Last year with the perfect game, he made his mark in Yankees history. He can be proud of that. He won't be forgotten. I'm sure there are mixed emotions among the fans. As soon as Rocket throws his first 15-strikeout night at Yankee Stadium people will be oohing and wowing, saying, 'What a catch!'"
The Yankees turned what normally is a quiet day -- the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers -- into a stunning event by obtaining the five-time Cy Young Award winner. The deal was announced less than hour before the Yankees opened spring drills.
"Being around here for the four years, you get used to things like this," pitcher Andy Pettitte said. "Stuff like this happens."
For an organization known for the unexpected, the quickness of the transition caught Wells' former teammates off guard.
"It's just another indication of how the business of baseball is these days," pitcher Mike Stanton said. "We won 125 games, but you're still always looking to make yourself better. What can you say? It's one of those things that happens in baseball."
As for Wells, he left the Yankees' first day of spring training in tears after speaking with owner George Steinbrenner and manager Joe Torre.
"I'm a little emotional right now," Wells said. "Give me a couple days. It's a little tough right now."
New York and Toronto actually completed the deal late Wednesday night, but delayed the announcement to tell Wells in person.
"He took it like a real man. He took it better than I took it," Steinbrenner said.
Cone spent four hours at Wells' house in Palm Harbor Thursday and said Wells left Thursday night for a golfing weekend in Miami.
"I've never seen him so down ... beyond depressed," Cone said Friday morning. "I've never seen anybody so stunned by a trade. He was pacing around and couldn't sit down. He just had to get away."
While players were sad to see Wells depart -- though they never took to his fondness for heavy metal -- they were excited about the imminent arrival of Clemens, who is due to report Saturday.
"It's really neat," Pettitte said. "Bringing him to a team like this, it's not going to do anything but help us. There's no doubt about it. When he's on the other team, you have to hate him ... when he's on your team, I've heard nothing but great things about him."
One player losing a close friend is Japanese pitcher Hideki Irabu, who was befriended by Wells during spring training last year. Irabu said he would take Wells out to dinner when the Yankees visit Toronto.
"Since coming to the U.S., he was the first player to say 'Hi' to me when I came in the clubhouse," Irabu said through an interpreter. "He really helped me -- it was huge. I'm going to be a little more lonely and sad he is not here."
In Dunedin, Blue Jays manager Tim Johnson was please to be getting three players who will become keys for Toronto.
"You know that you're going to miss a guy like Roger, 'cause he's a Hall of Famer," Johnson said. "Knowing him for quite a few years, he means a lot to me not only as a pitcher but as a person, so that loss is tough. But we got three players that are going to come in and help us. We gained a lot."
There weren't many players at Blue Jays' camp, which doesn't officially start until Monday. One who was there was left-hander Steve Sinclair, who might go to Class AAA Syracuse because of the acquisition of Lloyd.
"I'm a little disappointed," Sinclair said. "I'll just have to go into spring training and show them what I can do."
In Kissimmee, Atlanta manager Bobby Cox was happy about the trade -- for selfish reasons.
"I was glad he stayed in the American League," Cox said. "I didn't want to see Houston get him, or St. Louis, or anybody else for that matter."
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.