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Newz Forum: BASEBALL: Yanks get Rodriguez from Phils, close in on Stanton deal

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posted on Dec, 3 2004 @ 04:48 PM
NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees began reshaping their roster Friday, sending outfielder Kenny Lofton and cash to the Philadelphia Phillies for setup man Felix Rodriguez and nearing a trade to reacquire Mike Stanton from the New York Mets.

Stunned by Boston in the AL Championship Series, the Yankees are expected to make bigger moves later in the offseason, with free-agent center fielder Carlos Beltran and Arizona ace Randy Johnson figuring to be their top targets.

The Yankees were set to get Stanton for Felix Heredia in a swap of left-handed relievers.

"That's what it looks like. I think it's a good thing," said Stanton, who has a no-trade clause. "It's obviously not going to be a huge change for me. There's not going to be a whole lot over there that I haven't seen or been through."

Lofton, 37, will be going to his ninth major-league team. The Phillies could use a leadoff man who plays center, having mostly used slumping Marlon Byrd this year.

A six-time All-Star earlier in his career, Lofton hit .275 with seven stolen bases in his only season with New York. The Yankees still have Bernie Williams to play center, though he could wind up as the designated hitter -- or even perhaps their first baseman -- if they're able to sign Beltran.

Rodriguez, 32, was 5-8 with one save in 76 games for San Francisco and Philadelphia last season. The Giants traded him to the Phillies for outfielder Ricky Ledee and a minor-league pitcher in late July.

Rodriguez joins a deep bullpen, but one that struggled after the Yankees won the first three games of the ALCS. The righty went 25-9 from 2001-03, and helped pitch the Giants into the 2002 World Series.

Lofton will make $3.1 million next year and Rodriguez is due $3.15 million.

Stanton was a dependable setup man in the Yankees' bullpen during their World Series years from 1998-2001.

After the 2002 season, Yankees management made similar offers to Stanton and free-agent relievers Chris Hammond and Mark Guthrie -- the first one to accept got the job. Stanton was given about 15 minutes to make his decision. Hammond took the deal, and Stanton wound up signing with the crosstown Mets.

"I've always said it could have been handled maybe a little better, a bit differently," Stanton said. "Bottom line was they felt like they needed to make a move then and they did.

"There's no extra baggage that comes with that. I understand the business of baseball. People change their minds," he said.

Stanton went 2-7 in his first year with the Mets. At 37, he went 2-6 with a 3.16 ERA in 83 games for the Mets last season.

While the Yankees kept winning AL East titles, the Mets flopped.

"Even though we didn't play as well as we should have or could have, I still enjoyed my time over there," Stanton said.

Stanton will make $4 million next year. Heredia will make $1.85 million.

Heredia, 29, was 1-1 with a 6.28 ERA in 47 games this year. The Yankees got him in the middle of the 2003 season in a trade with Cincinnati, but he never found his rhythm in New York.

The Yankees also agreed to re-sign backup catcher John Flaherty to a one-year contract. Flaherty, 37, hit .252 in 127 at-bats but was the key to several New York wins, hitting six homers and driving in 16 runs.



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