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Florida Marlins Trade World Series Hero Moises Alou to Houston Astros for Two Minor Leaguers

November 11, 1997

Florida Marlins Trade World Series Hero Moises Alou to Houston Astros for Two Minor Leaguers and a Player To Be NamedBy TERESA AGUAYO

MIAMI (AP) _ The Florida Marlins began the breakup of their World Series championship team today, trading Moises Alou to the Houston Astros for minor-league right-handers Oscar Henriquez and Manuel Barrios and a player to be named.

``It’s not what you prefer to do. But in this situation we’re looking for young quality players that are ready to step in,″ Marlins general manager Dave Dombrowski said. ``You don’t want to trade a player like Moises Alou. That’s no question.″

The deal was made just before 2 p.m. EST, the deadline for freezing rosters for the Nov. 18 expansion draft. Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker sounded overjoyed.

``Moises Alou obviously is one of the premier players in the game today,″ Hunsicker said. ``It’s unusual that anybody can acquire a player of this magnitude. Adding him to our lineup makes us a force to be reckoned with.″

Florida owner H. Wayne Huizenga plans to sell the Marlins to a group headed by team president Don Smiley, and the two have vowed to cut the payroll to below $20 million next season, virtually assuring Florida will become a low-drawing non-contender.

Alou is to be paid $5 million in each of the next two seasons and $5.25 million in each of the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Alou, 31, was one of the free agents Florida spent $89 million on last winter to build a contender. He hit .292 during the regular season and led the team with 23 homers and 115 RBIs.

Many writers at the World Series considered Alou to be the MVP of Florida’s seven-game victory over Cleveland, although pitcher Livan Hernandez won the award. Alou hit .321 with a pair of doubles, three homers and nine RBIs.

Florida also is expected to get rid of Bobby Bonilla and possibly pitcher Kevin Brown. Alex Fernandez, expected to miss all of 1998 following rotator cuff surgery, was approached by the Marlins in an attempt to get him to waive his no-trade clause for the expansion draft, one baseball official said on the condition he not be identified.

Gary Sheffield, who starts a $61 million, six-year contract next season, also may be asked to waive his no-trade clause.

In Houston, Alou joins a lineup that already has Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and Derek Bell.

``When you put Bagwell, Biggio and Alou is the middle of your order, it’s a pretty awesome trio, no matter what the order is,″ said Hunsicker, whose team won the NL Central despite an 85-78 record, then was swept by Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs.

The deal is especially unusual because the bullpen has been Florida’s strength. Henriquez, 23, was 4-5 with a 2.80 ERA and 12 saves in 60 games with Triple-A New Orleans last season. Barrios, also 23, was 4-8 with a 3.27 ERA in 57 games.

``I don’t know what their thinking was. All I know is they got a couple of good arms,″ Hunsicker said. ``Oscar Henriquez could be a force at the major-league level next season and Manuel Barrios may not be far behind.″

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