Durazo Sent to Oakland in Four-Team Trade
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Erubiel Durazo was dealt by Arizona to Oakland on Sunday as part of a four-team trade that sent pitcher Elmer Dessens from Cincinnati to the Diamondbacks.
Toronto sent shortstop Felipe Lopez to the Reds, and the Blue Jays get a player to be named from the Athletics. As part of the deal, Cincinnati is sending cash to the Diamondbacks.
``Durazo’s almost been my Holy Grail,″ Oakland general manager Billy Beane said after the deal was announced at baseball’s winter meetings at the Opryland Hotel. ``I have been following this guy for three years.″
Durazo, 28, hit .261 last season with 16 homers and 48 RBIs in 222 at-bats, competing for playing time with Mark Grace. Beane said he expects Durazo to be the regular designated hitter, and he can also fill in for Scott Hatteberg at first base.
As a backup plan, Beane was also talking to the Phillies about reacquiring Jeremy Giambi, the former Athletic whose trade to Boston was announced minutes later. But the guy he really coveted was Durazo.
``I’ve really been after him for the last two years, but they told me he was unavailable,″ Beane said.
Beane and Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi are very close friends. They were working on a deal that they expanded to four teams _ allowing Beane to land the player he wanted.
``Sometimes, it just happens,″ Beane said. ``The stars have to align at the right time.″
Lopez, 22, batted .227 with eight homers and 34 RBIs. The Blue Jays, who could be receiving Double-A pitching prospect Jason Arnold, made the trade because of the emergence of shortstop Chris Woodward, who hit .276 with 13 home runs and 45 RBIs.
Dessens, a 30-year-old right-hander, went 7-8 with a 3.03 ERA in 30 starts. He fits into the rotation behind co-aces Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson.
``We see him as a solid No. 3 starter,″ GM Joe Garagiola Jr. said. ``It takes a lot of pressure off the whole staff.″
The player to be named is frozen on a minor league roster, and cannot be announced until after Monday’s winter meeting draft.