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Thursday, November 21
 
Williams' thoughts with his kids as deadline nears

ESPN.com news services

PHOENIX -- Top officials of the Colorado Rockies met for four hours with Matt Williams and his agent Wednesday to try to persuade the third baseman to accept a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"The meeting went well enough that we're going to continue talking," Williams' agent Joseph Longo said.

The teams have agreed to a deal that would send Larry Walker to Arizona for Williams, first baseman Erubiel Durazo, outfielder David Dellucci and reliever Bret Prinz.

But both Walker, who has averaged 94 RBI, 30 home runs and a .340 batting average in his seven seasons with the Rockies, and Williams must waive no-trade clauses by Friday. The deadline reportedly is 4 p.m. ET.

"This is something that I can't take lightly," Williams told The East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune in Thursday's editions. "This decision affects my children's lives. They are the most important thing in my life, and I have to make sure that is OK beyond anything else."

Asked specifically if the Diamondbacks or Rockies had given him reason to approve the deal, Williams said, "Not yet."

At the center of the discussions is Williams' concern about the impact the trade would have on his three children. Being close to his children was the reason Williams engineered a trade to the expansion Diamondbacks in 1998. He and his children live in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale.

"Matt has to make a big decision," Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo said at the major league owners meeting in Irving, Texas. "He has a family situation that is very important to him -- full custody of his children. That's a very sensitive thing."

The Diamondbacks have been in contact with Walker, too. The Colorado outfielder, a seven-time Gold Glove winner, has indicated he would be inclined to accept the trade, especially because Arizona is considered a World Series contender.

However, the financially-strapped Diamondbacks have asked Walker to defer a portion of the $38.5 million remaining on the final three years of his contract. Walker, who will be 36 on Dec. 1, already has deferred a large share of his earnings in Colorado.

Williams, who turns 37 on Nov. 28, has one year and $10 million remaining on his contract with Arizona, with half of the money deferred.

If Williams and Walker do waive their no-trade clauses, thus putting the trade into effect, ESPN's Peter Gammons reports it is expected to trigger a second trade.

Colorado then would trade Durazo to the Oakland Athletics as part of a three-team deal, Gammons reports. The Rockies would get second baseman Orlando Hudson (or possibly shortstop Felipe Lopez) from the Blue Jays and Oakland would send Double-A players Jason Arnold, a pitcher, and John-Ford Griffin, an outfielder, to Toronto.

The Rockies were represented by president Keli McGregor, general manager Dan O'Dowd and manager Clint Hurdle in Wednesday's meeting with Williams. O'Dowd and Williams know each other well from their days with the Cleveland Indians.

Williams plans to further discuss the situation with his three children -- Ashley, 12; Jacob, 11, and Rachael, 10. The children's mother also lives in Scottsdale. She and Williams have an amicable relationship.

Williams is in the final stages of divorce from his second wife, actress Michelle Johnson. That situation, however, apparently has no bearing on his decision on whether to accept the trade.

Longo said he and O'Dowd will talk in the next two days about the financial aspects of the trade. Those matters weren't discussed in Wednesday's meeting and aren't considered major obstacles.

The Rockies' representatives expressed respect for Williams' family concerns and outlined their ways of dealing with them. They pointed out that Colorado, like Arizona, has its spring training headquarters in Tucson.

They also noted that the Rockies play nine games in Arizona next season. School is out during most of the baseball season, and during the sweltering summer in Arizona, the children might not mind visiting their dad in the relative cool of Colorado.

"I've thought about how all this would work, but we haven't discussed any of that yet," Williams told The East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune. "I've got a lot of work ahead of me the next couple of days here."

The Rockies emphasized that they want Williams because of his experience as a winner and a leader in the clubhouse. Williams has played in three World Series.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.




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