PHOENIX -- Right after trading off a power pitcher, the
Arizona Diamondbacks acquired a power hitter who ranks among the
best in the game.
In addition to Sexson, Arizona received left-hander Shane Nance and a player to be named.
"I'm pretty excited," Sexson said in a conference call. "I
enjoyed my time in Milwaukee, but as a player, we obviously play to
win, and it got tough in Milwaukee."
De La Rosa was one of four players sent to Arizona for Schilling, and could not be traded until the Schilling deal was
"He was the Red Sox's best pitching prospect," Brewers general
manager Doug Melvin said. "He's ahead of our young pitchers. We
were reluctant to do the deal unless he was in the deal."
The Diamondbacks had long coveted the 6-foot, 7-inch Milwaukee first baseman as the right-handed power hitter the lineup lacked.
"This is an exciting player," Arizona general manager Joe
Garagiola Jr. said. "This is a player who turns a game around with
Sexson tied Barry Bonds for third in the majors with 45 home
runs last season, and had 124 RBIs. Arizona had no player with more
than 26 home runs last year.
Sexson, who played in every inning of every game last season,
has a career .378 average at Bank One Ballpark with six home runs
and 16 RBIs.
He has a .273 average with 191 home runs in six major league
seasons with Cleveland and Milwaukee.
Jerry Colangelo, the Diamondbacks' managing general partner,
said that despite Schilling's departure, he expects the team to
contend in the NL West.
"We in no way are giving up an inch in our opinion regarding
our competitiveness in going forward," he said. "This is a team
that we feel can win."
Sexson, 28, will make $8.6 million next year, the final season
of his contract. Colangelo said that despite the franchise's
financial constraints, the Diamondbacks don't consider this just a
"We'll cross that bridge when we get there, but the bottom line
is we have the ability to sign him," Colangelo said. "We're not
looking at this as a one-year deal."
Sexson said he hadn't talked about anything beyond this season,
even with his agent.
"I really don't know what the future holds for me," he said.
"Obviously, Arizona is sure someplace I would love to stay for a
He was the Brewers' most popular player, but with the franchise
looking to cut its already meager payroll to about $30 million next
season, his salary was too high.
Melvin said his team couldn't risk losing Sexson without
anything in return, or waiting so long that his trade value would
"We were faced with the reality of losing Richie Sexson and
probably getting nothing in return except for a few draft
choices," Melvin said.
Despite its financial situation, Milwaukee is taking on some
significant salaries with the deal. Counsell will earn $3.15
million next year and Spivey $2,367,500.
Counsell is 33, but none of the other players acquired by the
Brewers in the deal is older than 28.
Counsell, a scrappy utility player and the MVP in the 2001 NL
championship series, has been plagued by injuries the past two
seasons. He is from the Milwaukee area and still lives there in the
offseason. Counsell has two World Series rings, with Arizona in
2001 and Florida in 1997.
Spivey, selected by his manager Bob Brenly for the 2002 All-Star
game, was sidelined by an ankle injury part of last season and
never could regain his starting job from rookie Matt Kata.
Overbay, a left-handed hitter, was given the first-base job by
the Diamondbacks as a rookie at the start of last season after a
rapid rise through the minor league system. But he struggled and
was sent back to Triple-A Tucson to work on his swing.
Moeller hit .268 last season but fell out of favor for
unexplained reasons and played little the last few months.
De La Rosa, 22, has a fastball reaches 94 mph. He was 6-3 with a
2.80 for Double-A Portland and 1-2 with a 3.75 ERA for Triple-A
Pawtucket last season.
Capuano came back from reconstructive "Tommy John" elbow
surgery in 2002 and made his major league debut, going 2-4 with a
4.64 ERA in nine games, five as a starter.
"Personally, I think that we're a better baseball team now
because of the talent that we got in return," Milwaukee manager
Ned Yost said.
Nance was 0-2 with a
4.21 ERA in 26 relief appearances for Milwaukee.
The Diamondbacks' payroll, about $94 million last season, is at
$77.5 million and will stay around $80 million for the coming
season, Colangelo said. Arizona's overall payroll rose by about $3
million with the Sexson trade, he said.
The team cleared $12 million -- and up to $14 million considering
incentives -- in salary for next season by trading Schilling.
The team also is believed to be shopping closer Matt Mantei.