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Archive for Tuesday, July 17, 2001

McGriff snubs Cubs

Slugger opts to use no-trade clause

July 17, 2001

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— Fred McGriff is staying with Tampa Bay. At least for now.

McGriff invoked his no-trade clause Monday, scrapping a trade that would have sent him from the last-place Devil Rays to the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.

"It was just family and friends, being at home," said McGriff, who was in Atlanta for the Devil Rays' game against the Braves. "It's tough, it's tempting, but sometimes you have to think about people other than just yourself."

But the first baseman hasn't ruled out being traded before the July 31 deadline.

"That's the nature of the business," McGriff said. "You can't ever say never. Nobody knows what's going to happen."

Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar agreed, saying that McGriff could change his mind over the next two weeks.

"It's a major decision, and he just did not feel completely ready to make a decision to move as of today," LaMar said on a conference call. "As a week or two goes on, he may become more comfortable with idea of leaving his family and leaving Tampa Bay and going to play somewhere else."

But if McGriff goes somewhere, it's probably not going to be Chicago. The NL Central-leading Cubs need another bat to bolster their offense, and team president and general manager Andy MacPhail said he's got to explore other options.

"We have to proceed from the standpoint this opportunity is not available to us," MacPhail said. "We're going to have to proceed along on that basis and we'll try to find other avenues to help our ballclub.

"I think we'd be making a mistake if we just sort of hoped and wished and didn't do anything."

The Devil Rays, the worst team in baseball, and Cubs reached a deal July 8 that would have sent McGriff to Chicago for two prospects.

But McGriff, a Tampa native who has two small children, had to approve the deal because of a no-trade clause in his contract. Though trades usually have to be finalized within 72 hours, the commissioner's office granted an extension and gave McGriff until noon Monday to make up his mind.

"I would characterize our reaction as disappointed, but we're not angry," MacPhail said. "We knew when we made the trade that the player had a no-trade clause. He put it in there for good reason. ... We recognized this was a possibility from the start."

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