The Oakland Athletics have agreed to a deal that will send All-Star catcher Ramon Hernandez and outfielder Terrence Long to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Mark Kotsay, ESPN's Peter Gammons reports.
"We're close to a deal but nothing has been finalized and we're
continuing to work on it," Padres general manager Kevin Towers
told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The deal has not yet been announced because an extension for Kotsay, which would take him through the 2005 season is currently being worked out out, Gammons reported. The trade likely will not be finalized until at least Wednesday.
The A's offense struggled behind baseball's second least-productive outfield last season, and the late-season acquisition of Jose Guillen from Cincinnati was only a minor remedy; Oakland won the AL West title but was again eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Kotsay is due to make $5.5 million next season and Hernandez $2.9 million, and the money in the trade had to even out. Enter Long and his $3.7 million salary, with adjustments, to balance the books.
With the addition of Long, San Diego is expected to play Brian Giles in center field and Xavier Nady in right. The Padres tried to work out a deal for catcher A.J. Pierzynski at last week's GM meetings but would not give up right-hander Jake Peavy. Pierzynski was then dealt by the Twins to the Giants for reliever Joe Nathan.
Kotsay would join his third major league team after three full
seasons with the Florida Marlins and three more with the Padres.
He hit .266 with seven homers and 38 RBI in 128 games last
season with San Diego. He is a career .281 hitter with 65
homers and 336 RBI.
Hernandez hit .273 with 21 homers and 78 RBI last season and made his first All-Star Game. He also earned praise for his defense
and his work with the A's powerful pitching staff.
His departure leaves the untested Adam Melhuse as the top catcher on Oakland's roster.
Long hit just .266 with with 14 homers and 61 RBI in 2003. He ripped manager Ken Macha a day after making the final out of the A's final playoff loss last month.
Though the trade would essentially end the speculation about
Pittsburgh catcher Jason Kendall returning to his hometown to join
Giles, the Padres would get a quality alternative and again
showed an exciting willingness to improve their last-place team for
the opening of Petco Park. The Padres obtained Giles in August from
Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.