SI Vault
Tim Kurkjian
November 30, 1992
Why did the Phillies protect shortstop Juan Bell, who, according to one American League general manager, was the major league's worst player in 1992, while the White Sox didn't protect his brother, George, one of baseball's top run producers? That question was one of a thousand being asked before the start of the National League expansion draft last week in New York City. Almost eight hours later, after the Florida Marlins and the Colorado Rockies, who will take the field for the first time next April, had selected a total of 72 players and made six trades, there were hundreds of new questions—including, Who the heck is Andres Berumen?
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November 30, 1992


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4) Which teams were hurt most on draft day?

The Angels and the Yankees. California lost not only Harvey but also Junior Felix, one of its top run producers. During the draft Angel general manager Whitey Herzog said he needed to sign DiMaggio, Gehrig and Ruth, and then added, "That might not be enough."

New York protected minor league infielder Dave Silvestri instead of third baseman Charlie Hayes and got burned. Hayes, who hit 18 home runs and played terrific defense last season, was the second pick of Colorado. His departure left a gaping hole at third in the Bronx. The Yankees also lost two good prospects—outfielder Carl Everett and Brad Ausmus, the best defensive catcher in the International League last year. If George Steinbrenner were back in power, someone would have been fired during the third round of the draft.

5) In what direction are the Red Sox going?

The wrong one. Desperate for power, they left Eric Wedge, a catcher with home run potential, exposed while protecting slop-baller Mike Gardiner and backup outfielder Bob Zupcic. The Rockies took Wedge in the second round. The Red Sox hit only 84 homers in 1992—five of them by Wedge in 68 at bats near the end of the season. "We're not concerned [about losing Wedge]," said Boston general manager Lou Gorman. Well, it's time to be concerned about the Red Sox, and it's also time to wonder if Gorman is capable of leading them out of the mess they're in.

6) Why were many of the more-established—and more expensive—players not drafted?

Money is tight. The first real sign that teams won't be doling out big money to middle-echelon talent came the day before the draft. First baseman Andres Galarraga, a free agent who made $2.4 million with the Cardinals in 1992, signed with the Rockies for $500,000 (with performance bonuses that could add another $600,000). He's no gem, but such a huge pay cut this early in the free-agent game is a clear warning sign. That same day outfielders Mel Hall, late of the Yankees, and Glenn Braggs, formerly of the Cincinnati Reds, signed to play in Japan because their agent, Brian Cohen, said there were no multiyear deals for them in the big leagues.

7) How tight is money in Pittsburgh?

Very. The sad dismantling of the Pirates, champions of the National League East for the past three seasons, continued when $2 million-a-year Gold Glove second baseman Jose Lind—available but unchosen in the draft—was traded two days afterward to the Royals for two pitching prospects. With the dumping of Lind and the departure in the draft of $2.3 million pitcher Danny Jackson, the financially strapped Pirates saved themselves more than $4 million to use in their attempt to re-sign free-agent ace Doug Drabek. MVP free agent Barry Bonds is already as good as gone, and the next to go, via trade, may be $2.1 million catcher Mike LaValliere. Shortstop Jay Bell (he could get $2 million through arbitration this winter) has also been rumored to be available.

8) When will Danny Jackson set the record for most teams played for in a career?

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