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That Time The Atlanta Braves Traded for Barry Bonds

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Personally I feel this is one of the worst moment in Atlanta sports history, the other moment being GM Cox refusing a trade for Bonds back in 1988..  The Pirates backed out of a agreed upon trade for Bonds.  I believe the Braves would have signed BOTH Bonds and Maddox and the Braves would have at LEAST 3 championships in the 90s with a middle of the order of Pendleton, Bonds and Justice wrapped around Ron Gant, with Chipper Jones eventually replacing Pendleton.  This is a article from Fansided about the deal which backs up what Schurholz said about the deal.  My memory of the event was that the Braves said they didn't have the loot to sign Bonds.  Must be a Mandela effect or something.  I also remember concerns that Bonds might not " fit" in in Atlanta so this whole they traded for Bonds thing is a mandela effect, but I will post how GM Schurholz said the thing went down.

What may even be worst than the Pirates backing out of THIS trade was GM Bobby Cox turning down a trade from the Pirates back in 1988 for Bonds.  The Pirates initally approached the Braves about trading Bonds to the Braves for Andres Thomas  STRAIGHT UP but later included pitcher Tommy Greene. Cox REFUSED the trade, :lol:...

The Pirates coveted Andres Thomas. The Bucs were in dire need of a shortstop, and Bobby Cox saw his in to go after his man. Initial talks surrounded a Bonds for Thomas, one-for-one deal. Pittsburgh GM Larry Doughty had other thoughts. If he was moving Bonds, he would need Thomas and one of the Braves elite, young starting pitchers. Cox refused. Having already shot down previous deals involving his young arms, he stood his ground.

https://bravesgeneralstore.com/braves-history-lesson-the-story-of-barry-and-the-braves/

 

https://tomahawktake.com/2016/05/13/time-atlanta-braves-traded-barry-bonds/

For approximately 24 hours in 1992 Barry Bonds was an Atlanta Brave. Sort of. Let me explain.

The deal was done over the phone – standard GM operating procedures. Barry Bondswas coming to Atlanta. But, at the very last minute, the Pittsburgh Pirates backed out.

It was the spring of 1992. Spring training in West Palm Beach, Florida was just under way for John Schuerholz and his reigning National League West champions the Atlanta Braves. The Braves were coming off an incredible year where they not only took their division, but went to the World Series. It was Schuerholz’ second year as the Atlanta Braves GM, one year into his historic 14-straight divisional titles run.
 

At the time, the Atlanta Braves were clearly the hottest team in the National League. Their respectable farm system that Bobby Cox had built up during his time as the Braves GM (from ’86 – ’90 before appointing himself as the manager) had finally made their way to the big leagues and it was paying off.

At the very same time, Pittsburgh Pirates superstar Barry Bonds was the best player in baseball. And he only had one year left on his contract. Because of the Braves’ frugal spending and their brilliant managing of their farm system, the club planned to not only trade for Bonds, but to offer him a generous extended contract. Their grand plan was for Barry Bonds to come to Atlanta and to stay in Atlanta for a very long time.

Over the course of several grueling days of talks during 1992 spring training camp, John Schuerholz had negotiated a major deal with Pirates GM, Ted Simmons. How he managed to negotiate said deal still remains a mystery. Let’s just say, John Schuerholz knows how to negotiate. The Pittsburgh Pirates had agreed to take pitcher Alejandro Pena, young outfielder Keith Mitchell (cousin of the great Kevin Mitchell), and a prospect to-be-named-later for BARRY BONDS.

 

As the heated negotiations between Schuerholz and Simmons progressed and it became clear that Alejandro Penawas a key piece in the trade, the Braves had to get Pena’s permission to include him in the trade.

 

Alejandro Pena sort of gets forgotten about these days, but at the time, he an extremely effective closer. In 1991, he threw for a 1.40 ERA with the Braves. So trading Barry Bonds for Pena at the time was certainly not smart… but it really wasn’t THAT crazy.

And Keith Mitchell was no slouch either. In 1991, the rookie 21-year-old hit .318 in 48 games and was expected to have star potential.

Due to Pena’s contract, Schuerholz had to get Pena to sign a trade release. Schuerholz explained the situation to Pena, and after careful consideration Pena accepted the trade and signed the waiver. It was basically as official as you could get back in ’92.

After Schuerholz got the green light from Pena, he called Ted Simmons and they agreed to the deal over the phone. The entire deal was in place. Every player involved was told that evening, Schuerholz informed Bobby Cox and owner Ted Turner, and press releases were written. Their plan was to notify the media the very next morning of the massive news. As you can imagine, Schuerholz, Cox and Turner was pretty darn excited that night.

The next morning, John Scheurholz planned to call the media and notify the appropriate news outlets and send out press releases. Right before doing so, he called Ted Simmons just to coordinate the timing of the news. It’s a good thing Schuerholz made that call.

Apparently, when Ted Simmons notified Pittsburgh Pirates manager, Jimmy Leyland, of the trade, Leyland completely lost it. Upon receiving the terrible news (for Pittsburgh, of course), Leyland stormed into Pirates president Carl Barger’s office and completely raised ****. According to Terry Simmons, Leyland was so violently livid about the matter that the Pirates president called off the trade immediately. So, at literally the very last minute the deal that would have brought Barry Bonds to Atlanta was called off. All because of Jimmy Leyland.

 

Alejandro Pena would go on to play for four different teams before retiring in 1996 and would have an okay career. Keith Mitchell would only make it out of the minors three times until retiring in 1998.

Now, if you’re not privy to baseball GM negotiations, agreeing upon a deal over the telephone was and is completely kosher. People still do it. Bailing on any deal after two GMs have verbally committed virtually never happens. Especially an enormously high profile deal of this magnitude.

The course of Braves history, and baseball history, almost took a drastic turn in the spring of 1992. Can you imaging what it would have been like had Barry Bonds been an Atlanta Brave?

Would he have put up the same home run numbers as he did in San Fran? Would his personality have fit in with the upstanding respectful Braves clubhouse culture that Schuerholz and Bobby Cox maintained religiously? Would Barry Bonds and Chipper Jones have gotten along? What would he have thought about the Braves’ strict no-jewelry rule?

Can you actually imagine a clubhouse with Chipper Jones and Barry Bonds? During his time in San Francisco, Bonds had his own $3,000 lounge chair at his locker. I’d like to have seen him try to pull that sort of treatment off around Bobby and Chipper.

As baseball history unfolded, Bonds went to the San Francisco Giants in 1993, and by not spending big on a Barry Bonds multi-year extension, the Atlanta Braves used that money to sign a guy named Greg Maddux who now thinks he’s a Cub.

Edited by slickgadawg
Falcons In 2012 likes this

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29 minutes ago, Malachore said:

I don't think they sign Maddux if they trade for Bonds. I think it also confirmed. 

Still a win win for the Braves...

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1 hour ago, Malachore said:

I don't think they sign Maddux if they trade for Bonds. I think it also confirmed. 

Yep. JS said that the best thing that ever happened to the Braves was the Pirates owner blocking the Bonds trade because they would have never signed Maddux.

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Andres Thomas I think lasted one more year with Atlanta. Horrible defense as was the whole team. I think in 87 he was one of a couple of guys on team who hit double digit homers. They were a bad bad team.

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On 7/15/2019 at 9:22 PM, Falconsfan567 said:

Yep. JS said that the best thing that ever happened to the Braves was the Pirates owner blocking the Bonds trade because they would have never signed Maddux.

but Cox turning down the Pirates offer of Barry Bonds for Andres Thomas and a pitching prospect in 1988?  :lol:

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On 7/18/2019 at 3:02 PM, slickgadawg said:

but Cox turning down the Pirates offer of Barry Bonds for Andres Thomas and a pitching prospect in 1988?  :lol:

Well if they did make that trade for Bonds they would have had a much better record in 1989 and would not have had the #1 pick in 1990. That probably means no Chipper Jones. Probably best not to dwell on that non-trade.

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On 7/16/2019 at 5:26 PM, OrthoPTSD said:

Andres Thomas I think lasted one more year with Atlanta. Horrible defense as was the whole team. I think in 87 he was one of a couple of guys on team who hit double digit homers. They were a bad bad team.

Yep, Thomas had a career fielding % of .958. That's terrible, plus he had a career OBP of only .255. Terrible. If Thomas played on any other team he would have been on the bench or in the minors. And by 1988 Bonds was already establishing himself as an elite power hitter, and I find it hard to believe the Bucs would offer Bonds for Thomas.

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1 hour ago, The Kingfish said:

Well if they did make that trade for Bonds they would have had a much better record in 1989 and would not have had the #1 pick in 1990. That probably means no Chipper Jones. Probably best not to dwell on that non-trade.

chipper jones better than barry bonds?

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11 minutes ago, slickgadawg said:

chipper jones better than barry bonds?

I'm a bias Chipper fan so you know my answer.  Anyway, I doubt the Braves would have offered up the money to keep Bonds from free agency even if they did trade for him.

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20 hours ago, The Kingfish said:

Yep, Thomas had a career fielding % of .958. That's terrible, plus he had a career OBP of only .255. Terrible. If Thomas played on any other team he would have been on the bench or in the minors. And by 1988 Bonds was already establishing himself as an elite power hitter, and I find it hard to believe the Bucs would offer Bonds for Thomas.

I have to dig through old comic book box and baseball cards, but I have the AJC article about this proposed trade at that time. Man horrible team. Remember when Gant came up playing second base jacking bombs and Justice soon behind him that things turned, (Bream and Pendleton right after those)

Gant had to be the first guy on steroids of the era, he stuck out like a sore thumb, but I loved the guy

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