Kruk Says the ’93 Phils Could Have Had Randy Johnson

One of the most famous moments in MLB All-Star game history was John Kruk’s at bat against Randy Johnson in the 1993 Midsummer Classic. In an article by Sam Donnellon in the Daily News in 2011, Kruk claims that at the time that at-bat happened, the Phillies were talking to the Mariners about a trade for Randy Johnson.

“If you remember the trade deadline, we had a chance to get Randy Johnson and they didn’t want to give up, I think, Mike Lieberthal,” the Krukker was saying yesterday. “Either him or Tyler Green . . . “

Kruk paused.

“Look, I love Lieby, he’s one of my favorite people. But, at the time, I wish he was a Mariner.”

It’s funny, because we talk all the time about bad trades in sports, but you don’t hear as much about terrible non-trades. This was obviously a disastrous non-trade. There’s not much about it online. The best I could do was finding some discussion of a Phillies offer in February of 1993.

Philadelphia offered young players such as right-handers Brad Brink, Steve Paris and Mike Williams, first baseman Ricky Jordan and outfielder Wes Chamberlain. Brink was 8-2 at Class AAA Scranton and 0-4 in eight games with the Phillies. Paris was 5-7 at Class AA Reading and 3-3 at Scranton. Williams was 9-1 with Scranton and 1-1 with the Phillies. Jordan batted .304 with only four homers. Chamberlain has more power, nine homers, but hit only .258.

“There was a time last season when I thought something had a chance to be done,” (then Phillies) General Manager Lee Thomas said. “But I don’t think we’re in the hunt anymore.”

According to Krukker, they were still in the hunt all the way until the 1993 trade deadline, but Thomas wouldn’t pull the trigger. Bad move. Tyler Green finished his career 18-25. Lieberthal was obviously a good player, but anyone who wouldn’t deal him for Randy Johnson would be nuts. The Phillies back then were either too scared or too cheap to get rid of prospects for superstars, and you have to wonder how incredible the ’93 Phillies would have been with Schilling and Johnson for the stretch run. Actually, no you don’t. Just watch highlights of the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series.

2 Comments on “Kruk Says the ’93 Phils Could Have Had Randy Johnson”

  1. Gonzo says:

    Didnt the Phils also turn down a Don Carman for Rob Dibble trade in ’88 or ’89?

  2. Ryan Davis says:

    So why is all the emphasis in this article placed on whether or not the Phillies would part with Lieby, when it is apparently stated that the Phils could have had Johnson if Tyler Green were involved? Sorry, not to undermind your logic here, but if you and or Kruk are saying that the Mariners were willing to part ways with Randy Johnson if Green had been involved rather than #24 who eventually went on to become a Gold Glove/All Star catcher with 150+hr and 15 year starter, then your overall slant of the article is very confusing and muddled. The question isn’t why did they not send Lieberthal, but why did they not send Tyler Green in pure 20/20 hindsight. Honestly, very confused by what your point is with this article anyway, Lieby was a 1st round draft pick, grade-A pedigree catcher molded out of high school, who was thought to be undersized, but was absolutely destroying it in the Phillies minors. Honestly, had it not been for a series of bad injuries post his near-mvp like season of 99′, Lieby was on pace for an even more impressive career. Despite playing in constant pain, he was still a perennial .270-.300 hitter with 10-15 hrs a year from 2000 on hitting typically at the bottom of the order. Really find it hard to use him as an example of a bad ‘couldve been trade’. If the Phils trade him, maybe he never has the “Astro turf” injury of 2000 or 2001 whatever it was, and he goes on to be a .300+ 30hr+ catcher every year (a la his 99′ campaign), all of a sudden we are maybe have the conversation in the opposite direction (Maybe Johnson suffers an injury he otherwise wouldnt have). Point being, this example is a bit of a reach for me. Just no way to know how this wouldve played out. And like I said, if you truely want to do the What ifs, T. Green is the much better example.

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