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Pirates Trade Smiley to Twins : Baseball: Pittsburgh gets two minor leaguers for 20-game winner.

March 18, 1992|From Associated Press

SARASOTA, Fla. — John Smiley, one of four 20-game winners in the major leagues last season, was traded Tuesday from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Minnesota Twins for two minor leaguers.

Smiley, who agreed to a $3.44-million contract after filing for arbitration, is eligible for free agency after this season. Pittsburgh, which agreed to pay about $800,000 of Smiley's salary, received pitching prospect Denny Neagle and minor league outfielder Midre Cummings.

"I'm surprised and shocked by it," said Smiley, a 27-year-old left-hander. "I had no idea this was coming. I had no desire to leave Pittsburgh. This is the only organization I've ever known. I'm very disappointed. I'm going to miss these guys."

Smiley, who tied Atlanta's Tom Glavine, Minnesota's Scott Erickson and Detroit's Bill Gullickson for the major league lead in victories, had a 3.08 earned-run average last season and was third in voting for the NL Cy Young Award.

"I would have been willing to stay here for a fair price," Smiley said. "I'm not a big money person.

"If they would have made me a reasonable long-term offer, I would have gladly stayed. They didn't even make me an offer, though.

"Maybe they can get by with a $2-million payroll. Maybe that's what they want. I think they're breaking up a good thing here with this club."

Pittsburgh has two other top players--Barry Bonds and Doug Drabek--who will be eligible for free agency after the season.

"We just didn't give Smiley away," Pirate General Manager Ted Simmons said. "People in baseball know who these people are. People who follow the minor leagues fully understand what we got. These are the two guys I wanted, the two guys I had to have to part with Smiley."

Neagle, a 23-year-old left-hander, was 9-4 with a 3.27 ERA at triple-A Portland last season and 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in seven starts with Minnesota. The Pirates might use him in relief and move Vincente Palacios into the rotation.

Cummings, a 20-year-old outfielder, batted .322 for Class-A Kenosha last season and won the Midwest League batting title.

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