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Sheffield Said to Have Set Tuesday as Trade Deadline

March 01, 2001|JASON REID | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Gary Sheffield has told friends on other teams he has informed the Dodgers that they have until Tuesday to trade him to either the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets or New York Yankees.

It is unclear what the disgruntled left fielder would do if the Dodgers do not comply. Sheffield previously has said he would honor his contract, which has three years remaining with an option.

Sheffield already has blasted Chairman Bob Daly, saying Daly botched his request to become a "lifetime Dodger" and then "set out to bury" him nationwide.

Of course, the six-time all-star could continue to criticize the organization and reveal more details about his perception of the tumultuous process that has cast a shadow over spring training.

John Olguin, media relations director, declined comment on behalf of Daly and General Manager Kevin Malone.

Meanwhile, talks between the Dodgers and Mets intensified, baseball sources said.

The Dodgers are determined to trade Sheffield, despite their concerns offensively, because he has not changed his stance on receiving an extension or being traded.

Met General Manager Steve Phillips is expected to offer center fielder Jay Payton as the centerpiece of a multiplayer package for Sheffield.

It appears that the Braves and Yankees are not aggressively pursuing Sheffield.

The Braves have declined the Dodgers' request for either third baseman Chipper Jones, center fielder Andruw Jones or catcher Javy Lopez, sources said, and the Yankees are offering prospects.

Sheffield said the situation has taken its toll on him and his family.

"I play this game for my family, and this has been hard for them," said Sheffield, who resumed commenting after having declined interview requests for three days. "All I wanted to be was a lifetime Dodger, and then they [team officials] go and put this out there like I'm demanding things.

"I never demanded to have my contract torn up and they know that. I even offered to defer $2 million a year from my contract, I was going to play at $8 million a year, so I could help them sign other guys. Other guys [in baseball] are asking for extensions, and all I wanted to be was a lifetime Dodger, but when I do it I'm a bad guy."

Daly, who returned from Los Angeles Tuesday, spoke briefly with Sheffield during workouts.

Many members of the organization have counseled Sheffield, who said he is tired of talking.

"It's just getting annoying," said Sheffield, believed to be seeking a four-year, $80-million extension. "When I explain the situation to my teammates, they understand what I'm saying. When I say it to [management], they can't understand.

"All I'm saying is that I want to move forward, I don't want to keep looking back. I don't want to keep talking about what was said because that's over."

His teammates also are tired of the turmoil.

Dodger officials insist that the situation has not been a distraction, but players acknowledged it has been and must end soon for the team's sake.

"No question this affects other guys, absolutely," said second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, offered to the Mets in a proposed Sheffield trade. "It concerns me because I don't want to go anywhere, but you can't control it.

"This war between them . . . you have to be professional about it. Both sides have to be embarrassed because this should be between them behind closed doors."

Catcher Chad Kreuter is concerned too.

"It's very frustrating when one guy makes demands and somebody else can suffer," said Kreuter, whose name has emerged in trade speculation. "Either somebody on this team or another team."

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Erikk Aldridge, who previously worked for the Lakers, has been named the club's director of community affairs.

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