When the Dodgers designated struggling righthander Hideo Nomo for assignment last week, it gave them only 10 days to deal him and seemed to put a severe crimp in their bargaining position. General manager Fred Claire had his reasons, though. He believed that by admitting that Nomo was through as a Dodger, he could minimize the upheaval in the L.A. clubhouse. Claire was aware that as soon as Nomo heard his name mentioned in a possible deal for the Mariners' Randy Johnson, he had demanded a frade and was planning a press conference on June 1 to state his displeasure. By designating Nomo for assignment, Claire diffused that bombshell and avoided having a disgruntled player start another game for the Dodgers. Nomo (2-7 with a 5.05 ERA at the time of the move) had given up six runs in 2? innings after hearing the report that he might be going to Seattle. "Our objective was to get things quieted down," Claire says.
Claire correctly gauged that interest in Nomo would be strong. He got inquiries from about 20 teams. But we'll never know if Claire could have done better than the deal he got—Nomo and righthander Brad Clontz to the Mets for righthanders Dave Mlicki and Greg McMichael—by keeping Nomo in the rotation while shopping him. "You couldn't have kept this quiet if you tried to," Claire said. "It would have been a media frenzy after the first call."