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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

December 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Anatomy of a transaction: Morales trade was 36 years in the making

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(Jason Vargas celebrates with Jesus Montero after an August win over the Angels — the team to which he was traded yesterday. Photo by Associated Press).

On Nov. 5, 1976, before the Mariners had even played a game, they selected Bill Stein with the fifth pick of the expansion draft. Stein was a 29-year-old infielder who had kicked around from the Cardinals to the White Sox, but he would become a stalward at third base for four seasons with the spanking-new Mariners.

Why do I bring up Bill Stein, of all people, now? Because it’s possible to trace the lineage of yesterday’s trade, in which the Mariners sent Jason Vargas to the Angels for Kendrys Morales, all the way back to Stein, who is now 65 years old and has been out of baseball for 27 years.

I did this exercise once before, back in 2009, prompted by the release of Freddy Garcia (which I erroneously thought spelled the end of Garcia’s career. Freddy has won 34 games since then and still isn’t ready to give it up.

I decided to trace the lineage of the trade that brought Garcia to the Mariners in 1998, fascinated by how wide-spread the tentacles actually were. Well, more than three years later, the tentacles are spreading even more. I’s still an organic process that finds its roots way back with Bill Stein and the expansion draft of 1976.

Here goes: After the 1980 season in Seattle, Stein signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers. As compensation, the Mariners received a second-round draft pick from the Rangers in 1981, and with that pick, No. 35 overall, the M’s selected a left-handed pitcher from San Jose State University named Mark Langston.

Langston went on, of course, to become a fine pitcher for the Mariners, winning 74 games and making the 1987 All-star team before the Mariners, fearful of watching Langston leave for free agency without getting anything in return, traded him to the Montreal Expos in 1989.

From that point, here’s the timeline that I wrote about in 2009:

May 25, 1989: Mark Langston and Mike Campbell traded by Mariners to Montreal Expos for Randy Johnson, Gene Harris and Brian Holman.

Dec. 1, 1989: Mark Langston signs as a free agent with California Angels.

April 15, 1990: Mike Campbell traded by Montreal Expos to Chicago White Sox for Rob Fletcher (Fletcher never advanced beyond Class A and was out of pro ball by 1991; Campbell had stints with the Brewers, Rangers, Padres, Cubs and Red Sox, finishing 12-19 in parts of six seasons before being traded to the Yokohama Bay Stars in Japan’s Central League on Oct. 29, 1996).

May 11, 1992: Gene Harris trade by Mariners to San Diego Padres for Will Taylor (Taylor hit .223 in Class A for the Mariners in 1992 and was out of pro ball by 1993).

April 6, 1995: Gene Harris becomes free agent, signs with Philadelphia Phillies

June 18, 1995: Gene Harris traded by Phillies to Baltimore Orioles for Andy Van Slyke.

July 31, 1998: Randy Johnson traded by Mariners to Houston for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen and John Halama.

Jan. 8, 2004: Carlos Guillen traded by Mariners to Tigers for Juan Gonzalez and Ramon Santiago.

June 27, 2004: Freddy Garcia traded by Mariners with Ben Davis to White Sox for Mike Morse, Miguel Olivo and Jeremy Reed.

July 31, 2005: Miguel Olivo traded by Mariners to Padres for Natanael Mateo and Miguel Ojeda.

Oct. 11, 2005: Miguel Ojeda selected off waivers from the Mariners by the Rockies.

Nov. 18, 2005: Ramon Santiago released by Mariners.

Jan. 4, 2006: Ramon Santiago signs as free agent with Tigers.

July 30, 2006: Miguel Ojeda purchased by Rangers from Rockies.

Dec. 6, 2006: Freddy Garcia traded by White Sox to Phillies for Gio Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd.

Jan. 3, 2008: Gio Gonzalez traded by White Sox with Ryan Sweeney and Fautino de los Santos to the A’s for Nick Swisher.

Aug. 12, 2008: Freddy Garcia signs minor-league contract with Tigers.

Dec. 11, 2008: Jeremy Reed traded by Mariners with J.J. Putz and Sean Green to Mets for Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez, Jason Vargas, Mike Carp, Maikel Cleto and Ezequiel Carrera; Mariners also trade Luis Valbuena to Cleveland for Franklin Gutierrez. The Indians receive Joe Smith from the Mets.

November 13, 2008: Nick Swisher traded by the Chicago White Sox with Kanekoa Texeira to the New York Yankees for Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez.

Jan. 22, 2009: Freddy Garcia signs minor-league contract with Mets.

Jan. 28, 2009: Aaron Heilman traded by Mariners to Cubs for Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson.

April 28, 2009: Freddy Garcia released by Mets.

That’s where the last blog post ended. So now let me carry this forward to yesterday.

June. 8, 2009: Freddy Garcia signed as free agent with White Sox; (Garcia signed as free agent with Yankees Feb. 3, 2011 and Dec. 9, 2011; currently a free agent).

June 28, 2009: Mike Morse traded by the Seattle Mariners to the Washington Nationals for Ryan Langerhans.

July 29, 2009: Ronny Cedeno traded by the Seattle Mariners with Aaron Pribanic (minors), Brett Lorin (minors), Nathan Adcock and Jeff Clement to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ian Snell and Jack Wilson.

November 19, 2009: Aaron Heilman traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Ryne White (minors) and Scott Maine (Heilman was released by Diamondbacks on July 19, 2011; signed as a free agent with the Phillies on July 21, 2011; was released by Phillies on Aug. 2, 2011; signed with Pirates on Aug. 21, 2011; signed with Mariners on Jan. 10, 2012; released by Mariners April 1, 2012; signed by Rangers, April 14, 2012; currently a free agent.

Dec. 11, 2009: J.J. Putz signs as free agent with the White Sox

Jan. 18, 2010: Jeremy Reed signs as free agent with Toronto (Reed signed as free agent with the White Sox on July 13, 2010; signed as a free agent with the Brewers on Jan. 21, 2011; was traded by the Brewers to the Twins for “future considerations” on June 2, 2011; signed as a free agent with the Diamondbacks on Dec. 3, 2012.

Feb. 15, 2010: Endy Chavez signs as free agent with Rangers (Chavez signed as a free agent with Orioles on Dec. 12, 2011. He is currently a free agent).

Dec. 7, 2010: J.J. Putz signs as free agent with Diamondbacks.

December 12, 2010: Maikel Cleto traded by the Seattle Mariners to the St. Louis Cardinals for Brendan Ryan.

Dec. 22, 2010: Sean Green signs as free agent with Brewers (Green signed as a free agent with the Rangers on Jan. 23, 2012, and was released on June 1, 2012).

Jan. 14, 2011: Ian Snell signs as free agent with Cardinals (Snell ws released by Cardinals on April 11, 2011; he signed with Dodgers on May 25, 2011; he didn’t pitch in organized ball in 2012).

July 29, 2011: Ryan Langerhans purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks from the Seattle Mariners (Langerhans signed as free agent with Angels on Dec. 23, 2011; he signed as free agent with Blue Jays on Dec. 18, 2012).

Aug. 31, 2011: Jack Wilson traded by the Seattle Mariners to the Atlanta Braves for a player to be named later. The Atlanta Braves sent Luis Caballero (minors) (September 30, 2011) to the Mariners to complete the trade (Wilson was released by the Braves on Aug. 31, 2012, and retired).

Dec. 23, 2011: Gio Gonzalez traded with Robert Gillam from A’s to Nationals for A.J. Cole, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris and Brad Peacock.

Dec. 19, 2012: Jason Vargas traded to Angels for Kendrys Morales.

Notes: Brian Holman went 32-35 in 2 1/2 years with the Mariners and came within one out of pitching a perfect game against Oakland on April 20, 1990. He hurt his arm and never pitched in the major leagues again after 1991. Juan Gonzalez played one-plus years of Class A in the Mariners’ farm system before returning to the Detroit organization. He played the 2011 season in the Netherlands). Andy Van Slyke played 63 games with the Phillies in 1995 and retired. Natanael Mateo never made it past Double-A with the Mariners and is now out of baseball. John Halama went 41-31 in four years with the Mariners, then kicked around as a free agent with the A’s, Rays, Red Sox, Nationals and Orioles organizations, winning 15 more games through 2006. He won 13 games last year for Lancaster of the Atlantic League at age 40. Miguel Olivo came back to the Mariners in 2011 as a free agent, played two seasons, and is now a free agent again. Jeff Clement , his career stalling in Pittsburgh, signed as a free agent with the Twins on Nov. 26, 2012. Randy Johnson retired after the 2009 season with 303 victories — 130 of them as a Mariner. Mark Langston is now a broadcaster with the Angels.

And Bill Stein, according to Wikipedia, now lives in Keller, Texas.

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