May 7, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Brett Tomko (21) pitches against the New York Yankees in the fourth inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. (Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE)

Tomko Back; Reliving the Trade for Junior

With yesterday’s word of the Reds signing Brett Tomko to a minor league deal, you can’t help but think about the big trade between the Reds and the Seattle Mariners.  Tomko was part of that deal that sent him to the Mariners and the Reds received Ken Griffey, Jr.  Just last week was the 12th anniversary (if you will) of that deal.

On John Fay’s blog, Nick Hurm reminded us of what the Reds sent to Seattle versus what the Mariners actually got.

The Reds shipped Tomko, Mike Cameron, Antonio Perez and Jake Meyer to the M’s. Hurm tells us that the M’s wanted…get this…Pokey Reese, Sean Casey, Danny Neagle, Scott Williamson and either Travis Dawkins or Adam Dunn.

How things might have been different.

No one will say Junior was the picture of health while he donned a Reds uniform.  The most games he played in a season was his first back home, 145.  He also hit 40 homers and drove in 118. He would never see those numbers again.Injuries would riddle Junior and in his last full season as a Red (2007), The Kid played in 144 games.  During Junior’s tenure (almost 9 seasons), he would eclipse the 30 HR mark twice (2000 – 40 and 2005 – 35) and reach the 30 HR on one other occasion (2007 – 30).

But it is the “others” that are intriguing. At those the M’s did receive…

Tomko would be a Mariner for only two seasons going 10-6 with a 4.82 ERA.  He gained a start here and there (12 in 42 games), but he also spent time in Triple-A Tacoma where he was 11-6 and an ERA of 3.93 during his two stints there.  After Seattle, Tomko’s trek around the bigs began with stops in San Diego, St. Louis, San Francisco, Los Angeles (as a Dodger), back to San Diego, Kansas City, back to San Diego again, New York (as a Yankee) and Oakland. He spent all of 2010 in the A’s farm system before re-emerging as a Ranger last year.

Imagine the airport stickers on his luggage…

Another piece of that deal was Mike Cameron.  He paid bigger dividends for the M’s.  Cameron, who is now a member of the Washington Nationals, blossomed as a defender.  He won a Gold Glove in 2001 and 2003 and was selected to his only All-Star Game in that 2001 season.  In that 2001 season, Cameron popped 25 homers, drove in 110 runs and stole 34 bases.

Cameron has had his own travels, but not on the level of Tomko.  After leaving Seattle where he spent four years, Cameron has since played with the Mets, Padres (where he won his third Gold Glove in 2006 and was briefly a teammate of Tomko’s in 2007), Brewers, Red Sox and Marlins.

Antonio Perez was the only other player in the trade that saw the majors…and that was as a member of the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003.  Prior to that 2003 season, Perez was the Rays “gift” for the Mariners in acquiring Randy Winn (in a straight up deal) who spent two and a half seasons in Seattle before he was dealt to the Giants.

But Perez was not done being that “extra guy” in a trade.  In April of 2004, Perez was traded to the Dodgers for soon-to-be former Red Jason Romano.  And Perez was also included in a deal along with Milton Bradley where the Oakland A’s received the pair…in exchange for Andre Ethier.  Perez tried to latch on with the Nationals and the Braves, but would not see the bigs again.

Meyer never smelled the majors.  After two years and three days in the M’s system, Meyer then became property of the Chicago White Sox.  Then, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs.  He returned to the Reds organization in 2004, but only managed a month in Chattanooga before being released.  Meyer would also pitch in the Mexican League and in the Golden Baseball League in 2006.

For the guys Mariners GM Pat Gillick wanted, well, we know how that turned out for the Reds in keeping all those pieces Gillick desired.

Reese became a fan favorite and from time to time you will see a Reese jersey at GABP.  In 2000 Reese was snag his second Gold Glove.  After 2001 season, where Reese did struggle at the plate, he was dealt to the Rockies.  The next day, the Rox sent him to Boston.  Two days after that, the Red Sox granted him free agency.  Reese eventually signed wit the Pirates.  After two seasons as a Buc, the Red Sox would give Reese another go in 2004.  It would be his last major league season.

Same for Casey…and he still is a fan favorite especially when he talks about Skyline.  Prior to 2006, Casey was traded to Pittsburgh where he would spend all of a half a season as the Pirates sent The Mayor to Detroit where he would spend the remainder of 2006 and all of 2007 before singing as a free agent with Boston.

Williamson, who won the NL Rookie of the Year in 1999, would spent three and a half more years as a Red.  He wouldn’t exactly see that same success as his rookie campaign of 1999, but he was reliable and before being dealt to the Boston Red Sox in 2003, he accumulated 21 saves.

Neagle was coming off a decent 1999 where he was 9-5 with a 4.27 ERA.  While Neagle was not included in the Griffey trade, he was dealt during that 2000 season…to the New York Yankees.  Starting 2000 at 8-2, the Reds sent Neagle to New York where he did not pitch well going 7-7.  Some might remember this deal because of one name, Drew Henson. The one I remember is Brian Reith.  I saw Reith pitch his first game as a member of the Dayton Dragons. He had promise…

Before the 2000 season, Dawkins (known affectionately as Gookie to many), was the #21 prospect by Baseball America.  He never really got the hang of hitting big league pitching.  He might have as many stickers as Tomko as Dawkins has played in many farm systems since his days as a Reds farmhand.  Dodgers, Royals, Cubs, Tigers, Pirates, Mariners, Phillies, White Sox and Marlins have all employed Dawkins in some form.

The big fish the Mariners never got was the power of Dunn. Sure, he frustrated Reds fans with his defense, but his power could sometimes offset that lack of “D”.


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Tags: Adam Dunn Antonio Perez Baseball Brett Tomko Cincinnati Reds Danny Neagle Gookie Dawkins Jake Meyer Ken Griffey Jr. Mike Cameron MLB Pokey Reese Reds Trades Scott Wiliiamson Sean Casey

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