Mariners Bring Back Woody Woodward...

woody_woodward_autograph.jpg...but only as a scout. His name alone provokes hair-pulling and hand-wringing from fans who can't forgive him for trading future All-Stars Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to the Boston Red Sox for rotund, disappointing reliever Heathcliff Slocumb in 1996.

In 2002, ESPN named it the 7th worst deadline trade of all time. (It would probably rank higher today, as Lowe's best years occured later than that.) And there's a long-circulating rumor that the Red Sox asked for Varitek OR Lowe and Woodward screwed up and interpreted the request as being for both.

Similarly, Woodward traded the rookie who was then MLB's hottest prospect, Jose Cruz, Jr., for semi-decent relievers Mike Timlin and Paul Spoljaric.

In Woodward's defense, he was on the winning end of ESPN's 8th worst trade of all time, Randy Johnson for Freddie Garcia, Carlos Guillen, and John Halama. That trade netted the Mariners an All-Star pitcher, an All-Star shortstop, and one decent back-end starter/long reliever for a Cy Young-caliber pitcher.

Hiring Woodward is a curious move, to say the least, but as long as his finger's not on the trigger, maybe he'll have an insight or two that'll be worth his small salary.

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