First baseman J.T. Snow sat by the telephone all day waiting for the call that would inform him he had been traded to the New York Mets.
Joe McIlvaine, general manager of the Mets, eagerly anticipated the call from the Angels telling him that the deal was accepted. Snow was going to New York, and starter Anthony Young was coming to the Angels.
“When I woke up this morning,” Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi said, “I really thought I was going to do it.”
Instead, Bavasi sat on the phone in a conference call with seven of his top scouts, and after the call was completed, he broke the news to the Mets.
The trade was off.
“We were very inclined to make the deal,” Bavasi said, “but after the call I didn’t feel comfortable. We just didn’t see enough. The ball was in our court, and we didn’t return it.
“If he throws again, we’ll be there watching, but I just don’t feel we can do it right now. There are still questions.”
Young has pitched only two innings since March 13. He underwent surgery Sept. 28 to remove a spur from his medial collateral ligament in his right elbow, and he apparently has not fully regained his arm strength. He was clocked at about 87 m.p.h. on the radar gun Thursday, which did not match his 1993 scouting reports.
“I don’t know if it’s the arm strength, or intrigue around the injury,” Angel Manager Buck Rodgers said, “but we’re backing off a little bit. At this point, the interest is not there until we get more information.”
The Angels now have no pending trade proposals, Bavasi said, and might enter the season without acquiring another starter.
“I’m not panicking,” Bavasi said. “We’re back at the drawing board, but really, we never left it.”
The bags were not packed, and his locker still was intact, but Snow had already prepared himself for playing for the Mets this season.
“I was sitting around here all day waiting for the phone to ring,” Snow said. “This really surprises me. Everybody knew the talks were going on, and it was just a matter of when it was going to happen.
“I’m sure not all of this is over, but it’s a little settling. At least I’m here for now.”
And Young’s reaction?
“They (the Angels) will realize they made a mistake halfway through the season,” Young said. “They’ll regret it, believe me.”
The Angels traded minor league reliever Bob Gamez to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Steve Hosey. Hosey, who batted .292 with 16 homers and 85 runs batted in at triple-A Phoenix, is expected to open the season as the starting right fielder in triple-A Vancouver.