As some of you are aware, I have a close friend who was a front office employee of the Texas Rangers from 1998 until about two weeks ago when he left to join another MLB team. He had told me this a year and a half ago, but it is only now that I can make it public. I have known this person since I was 4 years old (38 years) and his reliability is impeccible.
During the entire month of July, 2004, Dan O'Brien and John Hart spoke almost daily about a trade that would send Paul Wilson to Texas. On July 26th, a tentative trade was made that would send Paul Wilson and P Todd Jones to Texas in exchange for SS Ian Kinsler and P Erik Thompson. The only hold-up was that the Rangers had an existing offer out to the Colorado Rockies that involved Kinsler; a trade that would bring Larry Walker to Texas. The Rangers thought the deal was dead, and told Dan O'Brien they needed to call to make sure (they did not tell O'Brien the other team involved). Upon making the call, the Rockies accepted the trade that had been offered a few days before, contingent on Walker's approval as a 10/5 player with a no trade contract. According to my friend, Walker told Texas he was leaning towards accepting the trade, so Hart told O'Brien the deal was off. 2 days later, Todd Jones was traded to the Phillies. A day or 2 after that, Walker refused the trade to the Rangers...only to accept a deal to St. Louis a week later after clearing waivers. Wilson cleared waivers, but if you recall in early August Wilson started getting pounded and went on the DL with a bad back.
Dan O'Brien tried to trade Paul Wilson, had a great deal set up for him, and it unfortunately fell apart due to no fault of his. The Rangers pulled the offer based on early reports that Larry Walker would accept the trade. Had he said no, Ian Kinsler would now be a Red. Blame O'Brien for perhaps not having a Plan B or C in place, but stop saying he wasn't allowed to trade or refused to trade Wilson. He came very close to doing it.