Winn 'definitely happy' about trade to Giants

Updated: July 31, 2005, 10:22 AM ET
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- The last-place Seattle Mariners traded center fielder Randy Winn to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night for backup catcher Yorvit Torrealba and minor-league pitcher Jesse Foppert.

Randy Winn
Left fielder
San Francisco Giants
Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
103 6 37 46 .342 .275

The 31-year-old Winn was in his third season in Seattle after coming to the Mariners in an Oct. 28, 2002, trade with Tampa Bay that was contingent on manager Lou Piniella signing as the Devil Rays' manager.

Winn is hitting .275 with six home runs, 37 RBI and 12 stolen bases this season. A career .283 hitter, he was an All-Star in 2002 when he hit a career-high .298 with 14 home runs, 75 RBI and 27 stolen bases for Tampa Bay.

The Mariners made a second trade on Saturday night, sending disappointing Miguel Olivo, who started this season as their No. 1 catcher, to the San Diego Padres for catcher Miguel Ojeda and right-hander Nate Mateo, both minor-leaguers. Olivo was considered the key for the Mariners when they traded right-hander Freddy Garcia to the Chicago White Sox on June 27, 2004.

The Mariners lost 99 games last season and are in last place in the AL West again this season despite spending $114 million on free agents Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson last winter. They're 14{ games out of first place with a 45-58 record.

Giants manager Felipe Alou said Winn would report to the Giants on Monday and be the team's starting center fielder when the Giants play the Colorado Rockies in San Francisco on Tuesday. He was the Mariners' regular left fielder this season after playing in center for them last season.

"I saw him play a lot when he was with Tampa Bay and I was impressed," Alou said. "I think he will be a very good addition to our team."

Winn did not expect to be traded -- even though the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins also talked to the Mariners about him.

"I try not to pay attention to rumors," he said in a conference call. "I didn't know the Giants were interested, but I'm definitely happy about it."

Winn, who is earning $3.75 million this season, should have known something was up, though. The Mariners held him out of Saturday's 3-2 victory over Cleveland after he went 4-for-5 in Friday night's 10-5 loss to the Indians.

Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi said the Mariners had "a couple" offers for Winn on the table and "we didn't think it was right to risk getting him hurt."

Bavasi said Foppert, 25, was the key to the trade as far as the Mariners were concerned, but it was "a gamble" because Foppert is still trying to recover from elbow ligament replacement surgery that caused him to miss virtually all of the 2004 season after posting an 8-9 record with a 5.03 ERA in 21 starts with the Giants in 2003.

Foppert pitched in three games with the Giants this season and also pitched at Triple-A Fresno and Class-A San Jose this season.

"Jesse has a better upside than any of the other pitchers with other clubs that we talked to about Randy Winn," Bavasi said. "We could end up with a real fine pitcher who was on his way to a real nice career before Tommy John surgery. But it's a gamble, a real gamble."

Bavasi said Foppert, who has been bothered by a strained neck this season, would report to Seattle to be checked by the team's medical staff and then sent to the minor leagues.

The Mariners don't know who will play left field with Winn's departure, Bavasi said. Raul Ibanez, who has been the team's designated hitter this season, played left field Saturday.

Torrealba, 27, was not getting to play much as the backup to starting catcher Mike Matheny, who has a three-year contract. Torrealba, who has spent five years with the Giants, played in 34 games this season, starting 24. He was hitting .226 with one home run and seven RBI.

"I'm definitely excited about the trade," he said after the Giants' game in Milwaukee on Saturday. "I should get a shot to play and that is what I've been looking for. I don't know what else to say."

Bavasi said Torrealba would join the Mariners on Tuesday night in Detroit for the opener of a six-game road trip.

With the subtraction of Olivo and the additions of Torrealba and Ojeda, 30, the Mariners have three catchers on their 25-man roster now although that could change and they could make a roster move to get down to two catchers, Bavasi said. Their other catcher is Wiki Gonzalez, who was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Friday when veteran catcher Pat Borders was designed for assignment.

Bavasi said he doesn't know who the team's No. 1 catcher will be for the remainder of the season.

Olivo, 27, who came to Seattle with Reed and shortstop Mike Morse for Garcia last season, was hitting .151 with five homers and 18 RBI in 2005. He was optioned to Tacoma May 30 and recalled June 28. Although the Mariners loved his throwing strength, they had to assign minor-league catching coordinator Roger Hansen to sit on the bench during games and travel with the team to help Olivo with his defense.

"We felt like it was in everybody's best interests to give him a new lease on life," Bavasi said.

In return for Olivo, the Mariners got a catcher, Ojeda, 30, who hit .137 in 43 games in San Diego this season and was in Portland, where he was hitting .196 in 16 Pacific Coast League games, when the trade was made.

They also got a pitcher, Mateo, 24, who had a 3-4 record and a 3.14 ERA in 47 relief appearances at Double-A Mobile this season. Bavasi said Mateo would be assigned to the Mariners' Double-A team, San Antonio, in the Texas League.

The Giants also announced they had purchased the contract of Yamid Haad from Triple-A Fresno. He will report to the team on Sunday.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press