Dodgers will pay family travel expenses

Updated: December 14, 2003, 5:23 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- Kevin Brown isn't sure whether he's replacing Andy Pettitte or Roger Clemens in the New York Yankees' starting rotation.

"It's a no-win situation, either way," Brown said Saturday night after New York completed the deal to acquire him from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jeff Weaver. "Both of those guys were great pitchers for the Yankees."

Los Angeles also receives minor league right-hander Yhency Brazoban, a player to be named and $2.6 million.

Brown, who lives in Macon, Ga., said his motivation was the same one that caused Pettitte to leave the Yankees on Thursday for the Houston Astros.

"I'm going to be closer to home, get a chance to see my kids more," he said. "It's been about three years since I've seen my kids play baseball. Hopefully, there will be a time here and there where we'll have a day off and I'll have a chance to sneak home and see my kids play."

Los Angeles made the deal for two reasons: The Dodgers liked Weaver and the prospects, and they wanted to rid themselves of Brown's contract. While he is owed $15 million in each of the next two seasons, Weaver is due $6.25 million next year and $9.25 million in 2005.

"It's the total package that really attracted us," Dodgers general manager Dan Evans said. "Not only did we get a young pitcher we really like, it gives us flexibility. It gives us the possibility to explore some trades and free agents that we weren't able to consider before."

The sides agreed to the outlines of the deal Thursday, just after Pettitte's agent informed the Yankees of his decision to accept Houston's $31.5 million, three-year offer, but took two more days to finish off the trade.

Brown's $105 million, seven-year contract -- the first $100 million deal in baseball history -- calls for his team to pay for 12 private jet trips for the pitcher's family from Macon to his in-season home or to selected games, and for ground transportation. The same service is called for if the team has any postseason road games. In addition, Brown gets eight premium season tickets.

While the Yankees originally were to give the Dodgers $3 million as part of the deal, the amount was reduced by $400,000 Saturday to cover the perks.

Brown, a hard-throwing right-hander who turns 39 in March, was 14-9 with a 2.39 ERA last season after injuries limited him to 19 starts in 2001 and 10 in 2002.

Weaver, 27, became a target for Yankees fans. He was 7-9 with a 5.99 ERA last season, and allowed the 12th-inning homer to Florida's Alex Gonzalez that won the pivotal fourth game of the World Series.

With the trade completed, the Yankees now have a projected starting rotation that includes Mike Mussina, Jose Contreras, Brown and Javier Vazquez, whose acquisition from Montreal will be finalized once Nick Johnson takes his physical for the Expos. David Wells, who is expected to agree to a minor league contract, will compete for the fifth spot. "You'd be hard-pressed to go to war with starters, at least on paper, as good as this," Cashman said.

Brown said all his injuries stemmed from pitching on a bad mound one day in San Diego. He goes from the worst offense in the major leagues to one that was third in runs.

Los Angeles never made the playoffs in his five seasons there, and he felt like he left unfinished business behind.

"We were going to try to be the Yankees on the West Coast, that is what I envisioned out there, that we would have a chance to be in the playoffs year after year after year," he said. "It wasn't meant to happen."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press