Colorado-Arizona trade called off

Nov. 22, 2002 at 6:45 PM
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PHOENIX, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks announced Friday they had been unable to reach an agreement with Larry Walker regarding the restructuring of his contract and have decided to end talks on a proposed trade with the Colorado Rockies.

The Diamondbacks Tuesday agreed to trade third baseman Matt Williams, first baseman Erubiel Durazo, outfielder David Delucci and reliever Bret Prinz to Colorado for Walker, a three-time batting champion and seven-time Gold Glove-winning right fielder.

However, Walker and Williams had no-trade clauses, giving both teams a 72-hour period to convince the players to accept the deal.

Colorado management appeared to have the biggest hurdle to climb since Williams expressed a desire to remain close to his three children in Arizona. But it was the Diamondbacks who called off the trade when Walker balked at their request to defer money over the final three years of his contract.

"I see no reason for us to continue this proposed deal with Colorado since we have been unable to reach an accord with Larry Walker and his representative," Diamondbacks General Manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said before the afternoon deadline.

"Unfortunately, we were unable to make this work for the parties involved and feel it's time to move forward as we continue to prepare for 2003."

Walker signed a six-year, $75 million contract with the Rockies in 2000 and had already agreed to defer money a year later to help the club sign free agent pitchers Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle. Not counting deferrals owed by the Rockies, Walker has $38.5 million remaining on his contract that runs through 2005.

Since the contracts of Johnson, a four-time defending Cy Young Award winner, and outfielder Luis Gonzalez are due to expire after the 2003 season, the Diamondbacks wanted Johnson to defer some of the $25 million that is owed him for 2004 and 2005.

Arizona has three players -- Curt Schilling, Danny Bautista and Craig Counsell -- signed for 2004 at $20 million.

Having the opportunity to play with the likes of Randy Johnson, Schilling and Gonzalez was not enough for Walker to accept another deferment.

"I have spoken to Larry several times in the last few days and I respect his decision," Rockies Manager Clint Hurdle said.

Walker, who turns 36 next month, hit .338 with 26 homers and 104 RBI in 136 games last season.

Williams is entering the final year of his contract that will pay him $10 million, with $5 million of that deferred. He requested a trade from the Cleveland Indians to Arizona after the 1997 season so he could be closer to his children following a divorce from his first wife.

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