Brewers add Torres to rebuilt build via Pirates trade
PITTSBURGH -- Former Pirates closer Salomon Torres, the majors' most-used reliever in 2006, was dealt Friday by Pittsburgh to the division rival Milwaukee Brewers for pitching prospects Marino Salas and Kevin Roberts.
The Brewers -- rebuilding their bullpen since losing Francisco Cordero to Cincinnati and Scott Linebrink to Chicago via free agency. -- landed a proven reliever who, until last season, was one of the majors' most dependable and durable.
Torres should be a good fit for Milwaukee, as general manager Doug Melvin prefers relievers who can pitch often and multiple innings at a time. Brewers starters went seven innings or more only 33 times last season, compared to 62 in 2006.
The 35-year-old Torres made a major league-leading 94 appearances in 2006 after pitching in 78 games in 2005 and 84 in 2004. Torres never had an ERA above 3.28 during those three seasons.
Torres had recurring problems with a sore right elbow last season, limiting him to 56 appearances in the worst of his six seasons with Pittsburgh. He was 2-4 with a 5.47 ERA and lost the closer's job he had at the beginning of the season, converting 12 of 18 save opportunities.
Torres also feuded with Pirates management, arguing he agreed to a below-market contract in return for the team's promise to rent a baseball academy he built in the Dominican Republic. He later rented the complex to the Texas Rangers.
The right-hander is due $3.2 million in 2008, with a club option of $3.75 million for 2009. Torres, who turns 36 in March, receives a $300,000 buyout of the option is declined. His 358 appearances are the 10th most in Pirates history.
Torres frequently pitched against the NL Central rival Brewers, going 1-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 34 career games, with four saves.
Torres is the second reliever added by the Brewers in three days.
On Wednesday, they signed reliever David Riske to a three-year deal worth at least $13 million. Riske, who was 1-4 with a 2.45 ERA in 65 games with Kansas City last season, may replace Cordero as the closer if setup man Derrick Turnbow doesn't win back the job he had in 2005 and half of 2006.
The Brewers also swung a deal with the New York Mets last month, trading catcher Johnny Estrada for reliever Guillermo Mota. Mota was 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA and no saves in 52 games with the Mets last season.
The Pirates give up a proven reliever for two pitchers who have no major league service time and thus won't be eligible for arbitration or free agency for years if they do reach the majors. They also shed Torres' salary following an off year.
"We have acquired two young relief pitchers who provide us with quality depth, options and multiple years of control," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said.
The 26-year-old Salas had 17 saves and a 2.77 ERA in 51 appearances with Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville last season. Originally signed by Baltimore 10 years ago, Salas had a 1.42 ERA in 37 games with Huntsville. He has a 3.59 ERA in 317 career minor league games.
The 23-year-old Roberts, a fifth-round pick in 2005, was 6-3 with four saves and a 3.44 ERA in 45 games with Single-A Brevard County. He has a 4.07 ERA in 101 games over three minor-league seasons.
AP Sports Writer Colin Fly in Milwaukee contributed to this report.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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