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Shawn In the News

Jays play a game of deception

November 20, 1999
By Richard Griffin
Toronto Star

BACK in October, when the Blue Jays announced the rehiring of Cito Gaston as hitting coach, the club had already come to grips with the reality of Shawn Green being history.

They knew it but they insisted otherwise. Of course, when it helps you make a deal in private, it's not lying, it's strategy.

There is at least one man who knew Green would not return, Larry Hisle, the classy Blue Jay hitting coach from 1992-95. Hisle had witnessed the relentless battering of Green's youthful psyche under Gaston.

His emotional reaction to his protege's pain contributed to his own dismissal.

``Shawn had to learn that you're not playing for the Blue Jays, you're playing for yourself,'' said Hisle. ``He has to put family No. 1. If you put the manager No. 1 and he does something wrong, you won't be prepared to play.

``There's a difference between playing selfishly and playing for yourself. The reality is to do what's best for you. I think everything that happened made him a stronger player.''

Back in the day when Green was a developing bonus baby, Hisle was placed in charge of his development, along with two other prized prospects, Carlos Delgado and Alex Gonzalez. He took it seriously.

As with most young players, it was more failure than triumph for Larry's Kids. Time and again, rookie mistakes were pinpointed by a frustrated Gaston, sometimes in front of the coaches, others in front of players. Hisle, far too sensitive to be a coach on the current Teflon manager's staff, was often near tears listening to the rants against his young nitwits.

``I was on the phone with Shawn the day Cito was hired,'' said Hisle from his home in Wisconsin. ``He asked me if I knew who the new hitting coach was. I was somewhat shocked, knowing what had taken place (in '94-95).''

Hisle was asked if GM Gord Ash quite possibly was not aware of what was going on in the clubhouse. ``I think about that a lot,'' said Hisle. ``I know Gord was clearly visible a lot my last year (his first as GM). As far as knowing (what went on), it's possible he didn't. It depends on who's giving him the information.''

Most general managers have a mole to report what's really going on away from prying eyes. There's no doubt Ash knew. After Gaston was fired, Green blossomed. Now Gaston is back.

Yet Ash continued to give the impression that the No. 1 priority was signing the all-star and his best buddy, Delgado.

After years of being burned by the fiery ball of speculation, the beleaguered GM has decided on a new strategy: deny, deny, deny. It's not a lie, it's a strategy.

Now Ash has moved on to focus on Delgado. After last week's trade talks at the GM meetings dried up, he is now trying to convince fans of the possibility Delgado will stay for one more year, or even sign a long-term deal.

After his denials over Green and Hentgen, why should fans buy this story about Delgado?

The public has a long memory. But this isn't even necessary. Only go back to last winter, the week before Christmas, when Rocket Roger Clemens staged his most sincere press conference to state he had withdrawn his demand to be traded and would report to Blue Jays spring training. He liked where he was, or so he said.

What happened?

The day before training camps opened, Ash shipped Clemens to the Yankees for David Wells & Co. The Rocket staying put was never a possibility, just as Green's departure was etched in stone, just as Delgado will be history as soon as the right package is offered.

When will we ever learn?

The Art of the Deal

Saturday November 13 1999
How an agent set in motion the trade that sent Shawn Green to the Dodgers and Raul Mondesi to the Jays

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Shawn Green settles his lanky frame into a chair at the Big Canyon Country Club.

Martin Garcia, a waiter in the men's clubhouse of the golf club which counts Tiger Woods among its members, approaches and asks: "Hello, Mr. Dodger. What can I get you for lunch?"

Mr. Dodger?

Jackie Robinson. Pee Wee Reese. Duke Snider. Sandy Koufax. Steve Garvey.
And now Shawn Green.

Some 31/2 years ago, Green was sitting on the Blue Jays bench behind a washed-up Ruben Sierra. Now, he is Mr. Dodger.

So how did Green arrive at that designation? How did the trade evolve? What went on behind the scenes? How many players were involved at the height of the deal? How did agent Jeff Moorad, who represents the key players in the deal -- Raul Mondesi and Green -- serve two masters?

These questions -- and what Green had for lunch -- we endeavour to answer, with the help of Green's lunch partner, Moorad, the kingmaker.

Aug. 2-4, New York City.

The Jays are in for a three-game series. Talk on TV, radio and the papers is of Green becoming a Yankee.

"Everyone had me going to New York," Green said earlier this week. "My parents were on the trip, I had all kinds of calls from the media."

Green talked it over with his parents and thought New York was a "little too much" for a California guy.

"I had dinner with John Olerud a year before. He and his wife loved New York," Green said. "But he was playing for the Mets."

Sept. 25, the SkyDome.

Moorad arrives to discuss his client with Blue Jays president and general manager Gord Ash.

Ash asks Moorad whether talk of Green wanting to play for the Yankees is accurate. Moorad replies he's unsure, but says he doesn't want to close any doors.

Ash tells Moorad if Green won't sign a long-term deal he doesn't want him playing out the 2000 season for the Jays.

Moorad tells Ash, "Don't worry, maybe we can send another your way." Moorad means another client, Mondesi.

Moorad and Green dine at Sotto Sotto in Yorkville.

"I spoke to Shawn about how some other clients, approached similar situations," Moorad said. Green begins to lean toward Southern California.

Sept. 28, the SkyDome.

Ash calls Moorad and makes a five-year, $48-million US offer. Oct. 1, Marriott at Key Centre Hotel, Cleveland.

Ash, along with assistant GMs Dave Stewart and Tim McCleary, plus vice-presidents Terry Zuk and Stu Hutcheson, give Green their best sales pitch on the Jays' future.

Ash, Stewart and McCleary outline a three- to-five-year plan. Hutcheson and Zuk speak of the business side.

"The coaches being fired Saturday (Oct. 2) didn't help," Green said. "But, I'm not saying any one change affected my decision. Some softened my decision. There weren't enough factors to keep me in Toronto.

"There was the question about (team owner Interbrew SA), would they sell?"

Green mentioned good people no longer around: Former president Paul Beeston, former GM Pat Gillick, former scouting director Bob Engle, John Cole, the scout who signed him, and former player development boss and later pitching coach Mel Queen.

To Green, the most respected man remaining was Ash.

"The biggest factors in staying were my loyalty to Gord and my friends on the team, although I wasn't sure how long Carlos Delgado would be around," Green said.

Oct. 4, Dodger Stadium.

The day after the 1999 season ends, Moorad visits Mondesi and asks whether he would like a trade Toronto.

"Raul was open (to a deal)," Moorad said. "He had talked to Latin players who loved Toronto.

Devon White said very nice things about the city and the club." Mondesi tells Moorad he wants to be compensated for the difference in the income tax he will have to pay.

Moorad phones Ash with the news.

Oct. 5, Dodger Stadium.

Moorad talks with Dodgers GM Kevin Malone and lawyer Sam Fernandez. Manager Davey Johnson gets on a conference call with Mondesi and the others.

"They wanted to discuss Raul's frustration and desire to be traded," Moorad said. "Davey was unable to talk Raul into staying and was disappointed Raul wouldn't change his mind."

Malone tells Moorad to put his trade request in writing.

Oct. 7, the SkyDome. Moorad phones Ash to book an Oct. 11 meeting.

Oct. 8, Toronto Sun.

First report of the Jays and Dodgers talking about a Green-for-Mondesi deal.

Oct. 11, Park Hyatt Hotel, Toronto.

Green and Moorad board an early Air Canada flight from Los Angeles to Toronto for the 5:30 p.m. meeting.

Before Ash leaves home, he tells his wife, Susan, "This is either going to be very good or very bad."

Ash is surprised when he enters the room to find Green there, too.

Green tells Ash it is his preference to play in L.A.

Moorad says they have a list of five places Green wants to play. The Dodgers are No. 1, after that, in no particular order are the Boston Red Sox, the Colorado Rockies, the Chicago Cubs and the Yankees.

"Shawn saying he was ready to settle down in a major-market U.S. city, specifically L.A., surprised me," Ash said. "He never impressed me as a guy who enjoys limelight."

Moorad tried to split hairs, saying: "We weren't asking for a trade or encouraging a trade, we didn't know whether Shawn would wind up in L.A. in 2000 or as a free agent in 2001."

"I asked if we'd done anything different -- including (keeping) the coaches -- would it have made a difference," Ash said. " Shawn said no."

Ash tells Green the Jays are about to rehire Cito Gaston as batting coach. When Gaston was the Jays manager, he didn't use Green as an everyday player.

"Gord said, 'Well I guess it's not going to be an issue,' " Green said.

Green leaves to catch a 7:20 p.m. flight to Los Angeles. Up at 5:30 a.m. he had flown all day, but says, "I owed it to Gord to talk to him one-on-one," Green said.

Ash tells Moorad the Jays will pick up Mondesi's two option years (2002, 2003) if Mondesi waives his right to demand a trade after the 2000 season, an option because he would be traded in the middle of a long-term deal.

Moorad says whatever difference there is between the income tax structure in California and Ontario is minimal.

Oct. 12, Toronto.

The Jays announce the hiring of Gaston.

Moorad visits the Toronto office of the Winnipeg-based Assante Corporation at Scotia Plaza. Assante is in the process of purchasing Steinberg-Moorad management from Leigh Steinberg and Moorad for $120 million US.

The agents represent Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe, Kordell Stewart and 21 other quarterbacks.

Oct. 23, Newport Beach.

Moorad phones Seattle GM Pat Gillick to ask the price on long-term talks with Alex Rodriguez in order to establish a market price. Gillick does not give Moorad an answer.

Nov. 2, L.A. and Toronto.

Talks between the Dodgers and Jays expand to a 10-player deal, with six Jays ( including Green and another major leaguer) going to the Dodgers for four players.

Malone and Ash are becoming frustrated with each other.

Nov. 3, Las Vegas.

Moorad, in Nevada for the Golden Spikes award honoring the college player of the year, phones Malone on his cell phone at an L.A. Lakers game asking for a list of six minor leaguers the Dodgers will deal and six Jays they want.

Moorad, frustrated by the deal being held up by discussions over minor leaguers, leaves a loud and lengthy message on Ash's answering machine asking:

"How do you value four years of cost control against a player eligible for free agency in six months? You're not giving Raul enough credit. He won the Silver Slugger, two Gold Gloves, has been to the all-star game and was the rookie of the year.

"Don't sell the guy short," Moorad yells into the phone. "He's quality."

Nov. 4, Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Ash responds to Moorad's message, making an early morning call to Moorad asking if he ever considered being a preacher. Ash is in California for the general managers' meetings.

Malone phones Moorad at 5 p.m. to say the clubs had agreed on the players. Moorad asks Malone who else Toronto got?

"Pedro Borbon? Gordie never even mentioned him, I didn't know they liked him," Moorad says.

Moorad leaves a message for Green in Las Vegas, where he is attending the Player's Choice awards.

Green phones back, catching Moorad at dinner with Assante chairman Marty Weiberg at Spago in Beverly Hills.

"I have good news and bad news," Moorad tells Green, "They've agreed on players, but you have to come back from Vegas early."

The Dodgers and Jays agree on a 72-hour time period -- expiring midnight Monday -- to talk contract with Green and Mondesi, respectively, and fax the commissioner's office.

Nov. 6, Newport Beach.

Dodgers chairman Bob Daly and Malone meet with Moorad in the agent's office for four hours. Green is there for an hour. Moorad wants seven years at an average of $14.5 million US.

The Dodgers offer five years at $62.5 million for an average of $12.5 million, with two option years.

Moorad meets again with the Dodgers at his office that night. Talks range from a five-year deal to a 10-year deal (seven years, plus three options).

Nov. 8, Laguna Niguel.

Moorad has breakfast with Ash. They work out incentive clauses for Mondesi's contract: $50,000 for an all-star appearance and/or Gold Glove, $100,000 for winning the MVP and $50,000 for finishing second through fifth in the voting.

At 12:30 p.m., Moorad and the Dodgers meet at the Ritz Carlton, agreeing on a six-year, $84-million deal with Green making $250,000 a year in contributions to the Dodger Dream foundation.

Malone phones Green and says: "Congratulations, you're a Dodger."

At the press conference, Green says: "At this stage of my career I would only want to play in a city that has a large Jewish population like New York or Los Angeles where I can have a large impact on the religion, and that's from my heart.

"Being Jewish there are a lot of things I could accomplish in the business world or with kids. Those are important goals. When you think of that, L.A. with the entertainment industry, it is the best place to do that."

Dodgers manager Davey Johnson remembers with the Orioles offering Jeffrey Hammonds for Green. With the Reds, he remembers offering "a dozen different guys."

Judy Green, Shawn's mother, at work watching the press conference on TV, begins to cry. Judy cries as often as Pat Gillick.

A TV man asks Green: "What's it like coming to a team that must win, compared to playing for a team that really didn't care about winning?"

The Dodgers have not won a post-season game since 1988, while the Jays won World Series in 1992-93 and had a better record than the Dodgers the past two seasons.

A Jays scout says it would have been a bigger deal "if the Dodgers had any prospects."

Nov. 9, Laguna Niguel.

Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda tells Jays manager Jim Fregosi, "Green was born to be a Dodger."

Fregosi snarls: "The kid lived in Orange County and didn't even cheer for the Dodgers. Didn't you guys win the World Series a year ago December when you signed Kevin Brown?"

The Assante purchase of Steinberg-Moorad goes through.

The bottom line: Mondesi has two more guaranteed years and a new jersey; Green has a six-year $84 million US deal and kingmaker Moorad picks up 5% commission.

And for lunch: Green had the taco special, his first as Mr. Dodger.

It's No Secret: Agent Was Key to Deal

Friday November 12 1999
JASON REID , Times Staff Writer

Dodger General Manager Kevin Malone figured that trading and acquiring would be difficult.

Malone knew the Toronto Blue Jays would expect much for Green, and persuading the all-star right fielder to agree to a multiyear contract extension seemingly wouldn't be easy. And although several teams expressed interest in Mondesi, his tirade at management last season didn't enhance his trade value.

But Malone moved forward because of his strong relationship with Jeff Moorad, who represents Mondesi and Green, and the support of new Dodger Chairman Robert Daly.

The Dodgers got Green and got rid of Mondesi on Monday, swapping the outfielders in a deal that also sent pitcher to Toronto and middle infield prospect Jorge Nunez to Los Angeles.

Green signed a six-year, $84-million contract that includes a no-trade clause and the usual performance bonuses included in today's record-setting packages. The Blue Jays exercised the two option years in Mondesi's contract, guaranteeing $24 million to improve his mood.

Moorad and Daly brokered the deal that boosted Dodger morale, and it occurred because of savvy negotiators who understood how to make things happen.

"You have to understand that there are so many dynamics to deals like this," Malone said. "There are so many things that have to go just right, it's usually impossible to get everything aligned. That's why trades of this magnitude don't happen often.

"We had a situation where we targeted Shawn early on. He was the No. 1 guy on our list, and Mondy no longer wanted to be here.

"Even though a trade [involving Green and Mondesi] looks good now, I knew from my experience at this that we had our work cut out. There were a lot of people who helped make this happen, but Mr. Daly and Jeff were right there the whole way. They each had a role to play to make this work, and they each did their parts real well."

Daly was a longtime deal-maker in Hollywood, negotiating with "A-list" movie stars while running Warner Bros. He faced off with some of the biggest names in entertainment for 20 years, becoming battle-tested along the way.

Those familiar with his style said Daly stays cool under pressure and doesn't take business personally, helping him remain focused. But they also said Daly is always prepared to walk away from a negotiation, refusing to succumb to pressure.

"He was great," Moorad said of Daly. "He made it clear from the beginning that he wanted to get a deal done, and he worked hard to accomplish that."

No one worked harder than Moorad, industry sources said.

Moorad and Malone declined to discuss specifics of the process that began during the final week of the regular season, but sources said Moorad prevented the deal from collapsing on several occasions.

When Green decided in September he wanted to play for the Dodgers, Moorad quickly began laying the groundwork. When Mondesi reaffirmed his desire to play for almost any team except the Dodgers, Moorad put the wheels in motion to get Mondesi out of town. And when Malone and Toronto General Manager Gord Ash reached an impasse, Moorad found alternative routes.

"Jeff is a guy you can trust, and you know what he says is legitimate because of his history," Malone said. "You know Jeff is going to try to do what's best for his client, but you also know he'll work with you to try and find a good fit."

Ash agreed.

"You're going to run into things that you need to work through in a deal like this, it just doesn't happen [overnight]," Ash said. "Moorad knows how to do that. Moorad certainly was a facilitator."

Moorad also played an instrumental role in ' trade by the Cleveland Indians to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1997. The Diamondbacks were the only team on the all-star third baseman's list, and Moorad helped an unhappy client that time too.

Cleveland General Manager John Hart worked with Moorad on that deal--and left the encounter impressed.

"Players have so many options in our business right now, you want to deal with [agents] who are going to give you straight answers and work with you," Hart said. "I've always had a good relationship with Jeff because he's a very professional guy, and he knows what it really means to work with you during sometimes difficult situations. That's very important."

Green Wins Gold Glove

DANA POINT, Calif. - Seattle outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. completed a decade-long sweep of Gold Glove awards Tuesday when he was honored for the tenth straight time. Griffey was joined on the American League squad by fellow outfielders Shawn Green of Toronto and Bernie Williams of the New York Yankees. The most surprising winner was first baseman Rafael Palmeiro of the Texas Rangers, who played only 28 games in the field this past season, while spending 128 games as the Rangers DH. It was Palmeiro's third consecutive Gold Glove in voting among American League coaches and managers. Meanwhile, Cleveland second baseman Roberto Alomar and Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez each received their eighth Gold Gloves of the decade. Other winners were New York third baseman Scott Brosius; Cleveland shortstop Omar Vizquel; and Baltimore pitcher Mike Mussina. Baseball released the names of the AL Gold Glove winners at its general managers' meetings in Dana Point, California. The National League winners will be announced Wednesday.