The Rangers have been stuck in last place in the AL West since
May 24, yet general manager John Hart has had a hard time moving
high-priced veterans because they refuse to waive the no-trade
clauses in their contracts. Therefore, owner Tom Hicks will no
longer agree to those clauses in future negotiations. "We haven't
written out a policy," Hicks says, "but I've talked with John,
and we feel the same way: no more."
Hicks believes his club's prior willingness to hand out no-trade
clauses now hampers its rebuilding efforts. Over the past 14
months three players have blocked potential deals for prospects.
First baseman Rafael Palmeiro, 38, who can become a free agent
after this season and whom the Rangers have little interest in
re-signing, has twice rejected a trade to the Cubs this season
that would have netted Texas two or three minor leaguers.
Rightfielder Juan Gonzalez, 33, also free-agent eligible this
fall, turned down a trade to Montreal in June that would have
brought Texas at least two prospects, including 23-year-old
righthander Seung Jun Song. Last summer lefthander Kenny Rogers
rejected a trade to the Reds--and then, as a free agent, signed
with the Twins in March.
"I may be naive," Hart says, "but I thought that players would
relish the chance to play meaningful games. Maybe I'm a dinosaur
for believing that."