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RAISING ARIZONA
Tom Verducci
December 01, 1997
SI was present at the creation as the Diamondbacks put together their ball club in last week's expansion draft
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December 01, 1997

Raising Arizona

SI was present at the creation as the Diamondbacks put together their ball club in last week's expansion draft

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3:50 p.m.
Five clubs still have not lost a player in the first round. Addressing the television, Showalter says, "Take Seattle, take Seattle." The Devil Rays take Mariners shortstop Andy Sheets, enabling Showalter to grab the player he really covets, Minnesota Twins outfielder Brent Brede.

3:55 p.m.
Three teams remain on the board, with the Diamondbacks hoping to use their last pick on Oakland A's infielder Tony Batista. "Worst-case scenario: If they take Oakland, where are we going?" Showalter says. The question is moot. Tampa Bay drafts Anaheim pitcher Dennis Springer, a 32-year-old knuckleballer not even on Arizona's wish list. The Diamondbacks get Batista.

4:20 p.m.
Cleveland general manager John Hart and his assistant, Dan O'Dowd, enter the room between rounds to try again on the Williams deal. Their conversation with Garagiola continues for an hour and moves to an adjacent room after the second round begins.

5:20 p.m.

Arizona had promised to select Cincinnati pitcher Scott Winchester with a second-round pick and then return him to the Reds to settle an earlier trade for pitcher Felix Rodriguez. But Showalter cannot believe that Houston reliever Tom Martin is still available. He selects Martin, gambling that the Devil Rays won't ruin the Cincinnati deal by picking Winchester. As it turns out, Tampa Bay has to satisfy a trade of its own, with San Diego; the Devil Rays use their first pick of the second round on Yankees pitcher Brian Boehringer, whom they ship to the Padres.

Garagiola is getting nervous. "Winchester now?" he asks. Not yet. Daal, the fourth-highest-rated starting pitcher on the Diamondbacks' list, is still available. Showalter grabs him. After Tampa Bay takes Florida outfielder Mike Duvall, Garagiola asks again, " Cincinnati?" Someone else says, "We've rolled the dice enough." Showalter agrees and takes Winchester.

5:35 p.m.
After checking again with Hart, Garagiola reenters the war room, quietly says, " Indians," and executes an imaginary slash across his throat with his index finger.

5:50 p.m.
Arizona stuns the Milwaukee Brewers by taking 22-year-old shortstop Danny Klassen, an exceptional hitting prospect who was made less attractive by his 50 errors at Double A El Paso. Showalter and Arizona's director of player development, Mel Didier, happened to be seated near an injured El Paso pitcher when they watched Klassen play last season. When they asked the pitcher about the field conditions, he said the infield was the worst he had ever seen. After the game Showalter and Didier walked around the infield. "Mel, that guy's right," Showalter said, kicking rocks and clods of dirt. "Mark this guy down for half as many errors as he has. We're going to draft him." (After the draft a Devil Rays scout tells Showalter, "We were going to take Klassen with our next pick.")

6:06 p.m.
The Diamondbacks' acquisition board is still blank in centerfield. Garagiola, knowing Florida is dumping players, has an idea: Trade a draft pick for the Marlins' Devon White if Florida will agree to pay $1.5 million to $2 million of White's $3.4 million salary in '98, the last year of his contract. Colangelo likes the idea, and Garagiola immediately leaves to make the proposal. He is back eight minutes later. The Marlins have agreed to the deal and after the second round will give Arizona the names of two players, either of whom will satisfy them.

6:30 p.m.
Showalter is so torn about whether to take Minnesota catcher Damian Miller or Kansas City Royals reliever Hector Carrasco that he slams down his pen in a rare show of emotion. He decides on Miller because he needs a righthanded bat to complement Fabregas.

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