Blue Jays, Expos & Rangers Pull Off Most Unusual Three Man First Base Deal
On Thursday, 16 March 2000, three first basemen were on the move in an unusual Spring Training trade when the Toronto Blue Jays, Montreal Expos and Texas Rangers pulled off this three-cornered move.The Toronto Blue Jays acquired 1B Brad Fullmer from the Montreal Expos while 1B / DH David Segui and $ 825,000 went to the Texas Rangers who then dealt 1B / DH Lee Stevens to the Montreal Expos.
Fullmer, 25, a left-handed hitter who batted .277 last season with 34 doubles, 9 home runs and 47 RBI spanning 100 games with the Expos during the 1999 campaign. In 39 games with their AAA affiliate, the Ottawa Lynx, he batted .317 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI. The native of Chatsworth, California is a career .276 hitter in 259 MLB games with 25 homers and 128 RBI. This Spring the 6', 215 lbs. first baseman was hitting.303 with 7 RBI.
David Segui, 33, hit .316 in 31 games with the Toronto Blue Jays with 5 home runs and 13 RBI last season after he was acquired from the Seattle Mariners on July 28. The 6'1", 202 lbs. native of Kansas City, Kansas, is a career .285 batter in 1113 games compiling 102 home runs and 487 RBI. This Spring he was batting .467 with 2 homers and 8 RBI.
Lee Stevens, 32, batted .282 with 31 doubles, 24 home runs and 81 RBI with the Rangers last season. He started 130 games at first base to go along with eight other starts as designated hitter. He was fourth on the club in doubles and homers while setting career highs for games (146), at bats (517), runs (76), hits (146), doubles, homers, RBI and walks (52). The1999 season also marked his third consecutive campaign with 20 or more homers and he has now accumulated 82 home runs and 304 RBI over parts of seven MLB seasons. The sure-handed fielder also finished fifth among American League first basemen with a .994 fielding percentage, committing only eight errors in 1296 total chances. The 6'4", 235 pounder was the Player of the Month for April 1999 after hitting .354 with 8 homers and 17 RBI.
"Lee is a tremendous addition to our club. He brings not only power to the middle of our line-up, but also a great glove at first base," said the new owner of the Montreal Expos, Jeffrey Loria. " This trade is just another example of the Expos' committment to making this club exciting and competitive for our fans starting right now."
Stevens, who was a Spring Training invitee with the Montreal Expos in 1993, made his professional debut in the California Angels' organization in 1986 after he was a first round draft pick ( 22nd overall ) in the 1986 June Draft. He also is one of the few players to have played in Japan, 1994-1995, who returned to further his career in the major leagues before signing with the Texas Rangers in 1996.
The Montreal Expos were worried that teams would attempt to pitch around Vladimir Guerrero, who is on the verge of becoming the best power hitter in the National League and Lee Stevens, right now, has the most power of those involved in this trade meaning Guerrero won't get a lot of walks. The Toronto Blue Jays were probably going to waste the defensive prowess of David Segui using him mostly as a DH because their top slugger, Carlos Delgado, considered less than average with the glove, insists on playing first base. Brad Fullmer, the youngest player in the transaction, has the most upside potential, who, after a slow start in 1999, hit .302 after the All-Star break. Also, as a DH his poor fielding won't be a problem. The Texas Rangers are worried about the knees of Gold Glove first baseman Rafael Palmeiro but there won't be any consistency dropoff when he gets a breather as DH while Segui fills in at first.
This may very well be the first and only three-cornered transaction in MLB history involving only first basemen.
Special to Canadian Baseball News 16 March 2000