Dodgers get Finley, then deal Roberts
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Gold Glove center fielder Steve Finley and catcher Brent Mayne to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, just beating baseball's deadline to make deals without waivers.
"I like what's been done," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "I think it's different."
Los Angeles entered Saturday night's play with a 3½ game lead in the NL West over the San Diego Padres. However, the lead was trimmed by a game after San Diego won, 3-2.
Despite the lead, Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta did not stand pat.
"I think the team knows we're trying to do everything we can to not only make the team better, but to push them over the top," DePodesta said on Friday night after the trade with Florida.
While ace Randy Johnson stayed in Arizona, his veteran teammate joined a contender. Finley had a right to block the deal, but decided to accept a trade to the NL West-leading Dodgers.
"This has been one of the tougher trading periods in our seven-year history, and it is particularly difficult to deal a couple of players the caliber and personality of a Steve Finley and Brent Mayne," Diamondbacks general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said. "At Steve's request, we began the process of assessing trade possibilities."
The Diamondbacks had two possible deals for Finley to choose from, with the Dodgers and with the San Diego Padres. Finley decided to accept the trade to Los Angeles -- 10 minutes before the deadline -- after receiving a call from Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.
The Dodgers sent minor league catcher Koyie Hill, outfielder Reggie Abercrombie and left-hander Bill Murphy to Arizona.
In addition to Saturday's three trades, Los Angeles also pulled off a blockbuster six-player deal with Florida on Friday that moved All-Star catcher Paul Lo Duca, reliever Guillermo Mota and right fielder Juan Encarnacion to the Marlins for starting pitcher Brad Penny, first baseman Hee Seop Choi and minor league pitcher Murphy.
Since the Dodgers traded their emotional leader, Lo Duca, and another extremely popular player in Roberts, Tracy was asked how Los Angeles' chemistry would be affected.
"We do have something special going on in our clubhouse," Tracy said. "We have good chemistry. But I think that chemistry comes from more than one person. To suggest that we've lost that is a little bit insulting to the others who are out there."
Although he was disappointed to be leaving the Dodgers, Roberts said the team is headed in the right direction.
The biggest change to the Dodgers' everyday lineup will be moving Milton Bradley from center field to make room for Finley. Bradley insisted that he was willing to move without hesitation.
"I told Tracy that anything he wanted me to do, I would do," Bradley said. "Bottom line is I want to win."
With the addition of Choi, who was in the starting lineup Saturday night, and Encarnacion no longer in right field, Shawn Green primarily will take over in right. Before being moved to first base in spring training, Green had played nearly his entire career as a right fielder.
Tracy said that on nights when the Dodgers face a left-handed pitcher, the lefty-hitting Choi may sit with Green taking over at first base, Jayson Werth in left field and Bradley moving to right.
Penny will make his first start as a Dodger on Tuesday at home against Pittsburgh. He will take over the starting spot of lefty Wilson Alvarez, who will move to the bullpen.
The Dodgers also recalled right-handed pitcher Yhency Brazoban from Triple-A Las Vegas before Saturday's game.
"I want to thank the Diamondbacks for 5½ years, probably the best 5½ years of my playing career," Finley said. "We were successful and won a World Series. I'm thankful they've given me an opportunity to possibly win another ring."
Finley said he would consider rejoining the Diamondbacks this winter.
Finley, a four-time Gold Glove winner, hit .274 for the Diamondbacks this year, with 23 home runs and 48 RBIs. Last year, he led the National League in triples at the age of 38.
A two-time All-Star, Finley played for Baltimore, Houston and San Diego before signing with Arizona as a free agent in 1999. He hit .368 (7-for-19) in the 2001 World Series against the New York Yankees.
Mayne was hit .255, with six doubles, a triple and 10 RBIs, in 36 games this year. The Dodgers will be his seventh major league team, following Kansas City, the New York Mets, Oakland, San Francisco, Colorado and Arizona.
Hill went 1-for-3 during a brief look with the Dodgers last season. He emerged as a star this year with Triple-A Las Vegas, hitting .286 in 91 games. He had 13 homers, 26 doubles, 54 RBIs and 57 runs.
"We got him for a reason," Arizona manager Al Pedrique said. "We need to know what Koyie Hill can do. He has some power, runs well for a catcher and he receives well, blocks well and has a good arm."
Abercrombie began this year with Double-A Jacksonville but has been playing with Class A Vero Beach.
Murphy, invited to the Futures Game during the All-Star break, struck out 113 in 103 2/3 innings with Double-A Carolina this season. He was 6-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 20 starts.
"We get a very interesting young pitcher whose name has been out there, Billy Murphy, and in Koyie Hill we get a switch-hitting catcher who has already put up good numbers in Triple A," Garagiola said. "He has some pop in his bat. He makes us deeper at that position."
Brito is one of six rookies playing regularly for the Diamondbacks because of injuries. The group also includes second baseman Scott Hairston, third baseman Chad Tracy, infielder Tim Olson, closer Greg Aquino and right-handed starter Edgar Gonzalez.
Four other players have less than two years' experience -- thanks in part to the loss of Roberto Alomar (broken hand) for 56 games starting April 21, and slugger Richie Sexson's shoulder injury April 29. On his return, Sexson reinjured his right shoulder and had season-ending surgery. Outfielder Luis Gonzalez will have season-ending elbow surgery Monday.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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