MIAMI (AP) _ The Florida Marlins failed to slash their payroll by much in Tuesday’s expansion draft, but they jettisoned closer Robb Nen in a trade with the San Francisco Giants.
The deal was scheduled to be announced after the completion of the draft.
Nen, who had 35 saves for the world champions last season, is to make $4 million next year, $5 million in 1999 and $5.5 million in 2000. The Marlins say they need to reduce costs because they lost $34 million in 1997.
In the draft, Florida lost pitcher Tony Saunders and two minor-leaguers, all to the new team across the state, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Among the unprotected players bypassed were three starters for Florida last season _ second baseman Craig Counsell, third baseman Bobby Bonilla and center fielder Devon White.
The Devil Rays made Saunders the first pick in the draft, took Florida reliever Mike Duvall with their second choice in the second round, and selected Florida outfielder Randy Winn with third first pick in the final round.
Duvall and Winn spent most of last season at Double-A Portland.
New Devil Rays manager Larry Rothschild encouraged the selections of Saunders and Duvall, both 23-year-old left-handers. Rothschild was the Marlins’ pitching coach the past three seasons.
``He knows me personally and he knows me professionally,″ Saunders said. ``He knows what he’s getting.″
Saunders was 4-6 with a 4.61 ERA in 1997, his rookie season. He was 3-0 against the NL East champion Atlanta Braves and 1-6 against the rest of the National League.
``A lot was made about how he pitched against the Braves,″ Rothschild said, ``but he’s capable of pitching that way against anybody.″
Duvall had a 4-6 record with a 1.84 ERA in 68 1-3 innings this year for Portland in 1997. Winn, also 23, hit .292 with eight home runs in 96 games for Portland.