Ortiz traded to Reds for Double-A pitcher
The Angels also dealt right-hander Ramon Ortiz to Cincinnati, where he figures to be a member of the rotation. In return, they received minor league right-hander Dustin Moseley, making room for him on their 40-man roster by designating infielder Alfredo Amezaga for assignment.
Byrd, 34, was 8-7 with a 3.94 ERA in 19 starts for the Atlanta Braves last season. He began the season on the 60-day disabled list recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery and was activated June 19.
"I felt like last year, I was just trying to piece together the remains of an injured season," he said during a conference call. "I'm really excited about starting out next year healthy. I really don't remember the last time I've felt this good. It had to be coming out of college. I feel probably better than 100 percent.
"Next year, I want to go out and establish myself as a top pitcher in the American League and just really get a full season in -- throw over 200 innings."
Byrd has a 60-53 big league record with a 4.33 ERA in 215 games, including 127 starts. He has also pitched for the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals.
He gets $500,000 signing bonus and a $4.5 million salary.
"The reason I chose Anaheim over several other teams was I felt they have the best chance to win the World Series and that was the best place for my family," Byrd said. "The bottom line, it just came down to Anaheim was the whole package for me at this stage of my career."
Byrd identified Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Kansas City and Atlanta as other teams that expressed interest.
Angels general manager Bill Stoneman said Byrd made quite an impression during the 2002 season, when he pitched for Kansas City.
"Every time he faced us, it was trouble," Stoneman said. "He had a heck of a year in '02. Then, he had the unfortunate things happen to him."
Stoneman said there might be more moves to come. Anaheim and Boston have been talking with the agent for pitcher Matt Clement.
"We'll see where we go from here," Stoneman said. "We're still in the shopping mode. Don't draw any conclusions about the signing of Paul Byrd. We are absolutely delighted to have Paul -- he's a very important pitcher in our rotation. But we're not necessarily done shopping."
Ortiz, 31, was 5-7 with a 4.43 ERA in 14 starts and 20 relief appearances for the Angels last season.
Before last year, he had made all 123 of his big league appearances as a starting pitcher. He won at least 13 games each of the previous three years and was 15-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 2002, helping the Angels win the World Series. He has a career record of 59-49 in 157 games.
The Angels declined to exercise the option year of their contract with Ortiz last month, giving him a $100,000 buyout instead of paying him $5.5 million for next year.
Reds general manager Dan O'Brien said the acquisition of Ortiz gives the team's rotation "a step forward in credibility."
"We have been pursuing Mr. Ortiz for months," O'Brien said. "We sensed he might be available at some point. His success has been as a starting pitcher, accumulating 200 innings and putting up double-digit wins for a successive number of years.
"We feel it's a very simple case of putting him back into the role in which he's traditionally been very successful. Obviously, we're committed to doing that."
Moseley, who turns 23 later this month, split time with Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville last season, going 5-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 20 starts. He was taken by the Reds as the 34th overall selection in the 2000 amateur draft.
Amezaga, a 25-year-old switch hitter, batted .161 with two homers and 11 RBI in 73 games for the Angels last season and .259 in 32 games for Triple-A Salt Lake.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press