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Baseball's Trade Wars

A Win, and Then a Quick Goodbye

Baseball: Tigers beat Angels, 10-5, send Fielder to New York, Curtis to the Dodgers, Gohr to the visiting clubhouse.

August 01, 1996|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DETROIT — The New York Yankees acquired Detroit slugger Cecil Fielder, the San Diego Padres got Milwaukee outfielder Greg Vaughn, the Dodgers picked up Detroit outfielder Chad Curtis, Seattle boosted their rotation with the addition of Boston's Jamie Moyer and Philadelphia's Terry Mulholland and the Angels . . . well, brace yourself.

Their big move after Wednesday night's 10-5 loss to Detroit was to acquire Tiger pitcher Greg Gohr, a right-hander with a 4-8 record and 7.17 earned-run average who was so ineffective that he was demoted from the starting rotation to the bullpen on a staff that is threatening to break baseball's all-time record for worst team ERA.

Gohr, traded for triple-A infielder Damion Easley, was not exactly on top of the Angels'pitching wish list. The Angels inquired about several starters, including Kansas City's KevinAppier, Philadelphia's Curt Schilling and San Diego's Scott Sanders.

But when Wednesday night's trading deadline passed, outfielder Garret Anderson was still an Angel, and a team that is struggling to get back into the division race had made no significant improvements.

"We made every effort, but we were dead set on not moving any of the young pitching we have, guys like [prospects] Jason Dickson and Jarrod Washburn, and those are the players teams wanted," Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi said.

"And the 'impact' pitching was not out there, certainly not like it was last year. The most dominant guy available [Appier] just signed a multiyear deal and is staying put, and I'mnot going to give up a lot of futures for one player, because the way we're playing now, it might take more than one player to turn things around."

Bavasi said he considered shaking up the underachieving Angels, "but we didn't want to move the quality position players we have. We have to look inside. We have to improve ourselves, because there are some players that you and I know should be pitching and playing better."

The Angels didn't fare too well on the mound again Wednesday night. Starter Dennis Springer gave up five runs--three of them on solo home runs--and after the Angels rallied with four runs in the sixth inning to tie the game, 5-5, reliever Mike James gave up a three-run homer to Tony Clark in the seventh inning.

Then things really heated up in the Tiger clubhouse, where Detroit General Manager Randy Smith went on a trading frenzy; where Curtis and Fielder were suddenly exchanging farewells with teammates and where Gohr was asking directions to the visiting clubhouse, where he will report today.

"It's been an eventful 45 minutes in here," said Gohr, a 29-year-old who probably will pitch long relief for the Angels but has the ability to start. "Everyone's head is still spinning."

Fielder, who is batting .248 with 26 homers and 80 RBIs, was traded for designated hitterRuben Sierra; minor league pitcher Matt Drews, a 6-foot-8 right-hander who was a first-round pick in 1993; and $1 million.

Fielder, who will be going from baseball's worst team to one of its best, also agreed to defer $2 million of his 1997 salary, of $7.2 million, which the Yankees will assume.

"It's going to be strange, but I feel real good about it," Fielder said. "It's an opportunity to play for a team that has an opportunity to win it all."

Curtis, a former Angel who was traded for Dodger relievers John Cummings and Joey Eischen,was also excited about going to a contender.

Gohr was unsure of the road ahead.

"I have no idea what the situation will be there, but it's nice that someone wants you," he said. "I don't even know where the other [Tiger Stadium] clubhouse is. I imagine that will be a little different."

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