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Baseball's Trade Wars

Padres, Yankees Add Big Guns

August 01, 1996|ROSS NEWHAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The San Diego Padres, locked in a National League West dogfight with the Dodgers and Colorado Rockies, added some bite Wednesday night by trading for Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Greg Vaughn, while Cecil Fielder got his wish to play for a contender when he was traded to the New York Yankees.

In major deals prior to the 9 p.m. deadline for non-waiver trades:

--The Padres, last in the National League in home runs, traded outfielder Marc Newfield and pitchers Bryce Florie and Ron Villone, all legitimate prospects, for the power-hitting Vaughn, who is having his best year with 31 homers, 95 runs batted in and a .280 average.

San Diego General Manager Kevin Towers cited his club's power shortage and the uncertainty surrounding the return of injured Tony Gwynn.

"We felt power was important if we're going to compete with the Dodgers, Rockies and Giants," Towers said. "Hopefully, this sends the message that we're serious about winning."

Vaughn, making $5.4 million this year, is eligible for free agency when the season ends, and the small-market Brewers were unlikely to re-sign him.

--The Detroit Tigers sent Fielder to the Yankees for Ruben Sierra, minor league pitcher Matt Drews and an unspecified amount of cash.

"I'm happy to have the opportunity to go to a contender," Fielder said of a trade that sent him from the cellar in the American League East to the penthouse. The Yankees have a 10 game lead over the Baltimore Orioles.

"I had some great years [with the Tigers], but it was time to move on," said Fielder, who will become the Yankees' designated hitter, with Darryl Strawberry moving to left field.

Fielder has hit 28 or more home runs for six consecutive seasons and has 26 this year, with 80 runs batted in and a .248 average.

"I thought I might be traded but I'm shocked to be going to the Yankees, ' Fielder said. "I'm probably going to look pretty big in pinstripes, but I am just going to try and enjoy myself and not get caught up in that New York thing."

Said Yankee Manager Joe Torre: "This is big for us. That's a big RBI bat. There's been a lot said about our problems against left-handers, and this should address that."

Said Strawberry: "This definitely makes us a better ballclub. We needed another right-handed batter with consistent power because we have so many left-handed hitters."

Sierra, unhappy and unproductive as the Yankee designated hitter, has a .258 average, 11 homers and 52 RBI.

He is guaranteed $5.5 million next year compared to Fielder's $7.2 million. Fielder agreed to defer $2 million of that salary to ease the Yankees' payroll concerns next year.

Said Tiger General Manager Randy Smith: "Cecil wanted to play for a winner and we were willing to accommodate him if it didn't disrupt the organization."

--The Seattle Mariners, still uncertain as to the return of Randy Johnson, acquired veteran left-hander Terry Mulholland (8-7) from the Philadelphia Phillies for one of their top prospects, shortstop Desi Relaford.

It was Seattle's second attempt to improve their pitching this week, having previously dealt outfielder Darren Bragg to the Boston Red Sox for Jamie Moyer.

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