Do You Remember: When Hideo Nomo Almost Became a Phillie?

Posted: April 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,



Beginning a new segment here at SkoodSports. This one is called, “Do You Remember?” It’s pretty self-explanatory. But, for the dumbfounded and dimwitted, this segment will remind Philadelphia fans of forgotten history. Often, the most interesting stories are the forgotten ones. SkoodSports is here to tell these stories.

The month was October, 1999, and the Phillies, under the guidance of General Manager Ed Wade and Manager Terry Francona, were coming off of a 77-85 season and their second consecutive third place finish in the National League East. The organization believed that it was time to begin aggressively pursuing upgrades to their roster. At the time, Philadelphia owned a $30 million payroll (amazing to think about considering how liberal they are nowadays with their payroll). Curt Schilling, the ace of the rotation for a decade, was scheduled to make $5.65 million in the final year of a 3 year, $15.45 million contract that contained a $6.5 million team option for 2001. 

Knowing that their ace was likely to leave within the next couple of seasons, the front office went out and tried to make a splash that offseason. On October 28th, the Milwaukee Brewers waived Hideo Nomo, who was scheduled to become a free agent later that week. Nomo, 30 at the time, was coming off a 12-8, 4.54 season with the Brewers and held a 61-49, 3.82 career mark at the time. Philadelphia, knowing that they did not have to relinquish any assets to claim the Japanese right-hander, claimed Nomo off waivers that day. 

The legend is that Nomo, who was in Tokyo at the time, was asleep when Philadelphia made the claim. When he awoke, it did not take long for the former NL Rookie of the Year to reject the Phillies’ contract offer. 

“We discussed our team and had a brief discussion about a multiyear deal,” former GM Ed Wade was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. “Both Nomura (Nomo’s agent) and Nomo liked our lineup, but, they felt that free agency was their best route at this time. They would like the opportunity to test the market.” 

Prior to being waived by the Brewers, Nomo had rejected Milwaukee’s overtures towards an extension for about $5 million a season. It’s likely that the Phillies were not willing to offer Nomo a contract significantly better than that amount, as their $30 million payroll lends to believe. The year prior, Milwaukee was able to poach Nomo from the New York Mets for just $250,000 after the former phenom was released by the Mets in spring training. 

After missing out on Nomo, who would go on to sign a $3.85 million contract with the Detroit Tigers, the Phillies instead traded Adam Eaton, Carlton Loewer, and Steve Montgomery on November 10th to San Diego for RHP Andy Ashby. The former Phillies’ return to the City of Brotherly Love did not go as planned, however. Ashby would struggle to a 4-7, 5.68 mark in 2000 prior to being dealt to Atlanta in July for LHP Bruce Chen. 

The Phillies would finish 65-97 in 2000, good for last place in the division. Schilling was dealt at the trade deadline to Arizona for RHP Nelson Figueroa, RHP Vicente Padilla, 1B Travis Lee, and RHP Omar Daal.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s