Finley goes, Unit stays - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Finley goes, Unit stays

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Posted: Sunday, August 1, 2004 7:13 am | Updated: 4:57 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

DENVER - A month of intense trade talk by the Diamondbacks anti-climaxed Saturday with one deal — and it did not involve Randy Johnson.

Before losing to the Colorado Rockies 8-4 at Coors Field, Arizona sent center fielder Steve Finley and catcher Brent Mayne to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Class AAA catcher Koyie Hill (who will join the D-Backs), Class AA left-hander Billy Murphy (whom the Dodgers acquired Friday from the Florida Marlins) and Class A outfielder Reggie Abercrombie.

Hill and Luis Terrero (called up to take Finley’s spot in center) will become regulars beginning today, joining starting pitchers Lance Cormier and Edgar Gonzalez in Arizona’s on-the-job training program as the franchise continues to prepare for the future.

Although Johnson was willing to consider waiving his notrade clause to join Finley and Mayne with the Dodgers, the D-Backs never got an offer they considered satisfactory.

"Once again," Johnson said, "I can’t say (whether the answer would have been) yes or no."

Johnson makes $16 million this season and next, with 37.5 percent deferred and a $1 million personal services contract for after he retires. As of today, he has about $5.6 million remaining on this year’s salary.

But simply saving $22 million was not enough reason for Arizona to move Johnson.

"At the end of what was — to put it mildly — an exhaustive process, we simply did not feel that what we would have been able to obtain warranted making the deal," general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said. "The names that were bandied about the last 24 hours were not names that were available to us in a deal.

"Did we discuss some of those names? Yes we did. Did we discuss some of those names at length? Yes we did. Were those names available to us? No they were not. No they were not."

Although Los Angeles was willing to trade one-time Arizona farmhand Brad Penny (also acquired Friday from Florida) and prospects for Johnson, the Dodgers refused to include prized right-hander Edwin Jackson.

"I don’t think a deal would have ever worked out that made the Diamondbacks happy," said Johnson, who is 10-9 despite a 2.79 ERA that ranks seventh in the National League.

"I just think the demands were too high. I think they were probably expecting to get something like what they gave to get Richie (Sexson).

"What is equal value for me. Is there equal value?"

It seems possible, if not likely, that Arizona will have to consider trading Johnson again in the offseason and perhaps up to next year’s trade deadline.

Finley, 39, said he is open to re-signing with the D-Backs when his contract expires after the season. There were negotiations on an extension earlier this year before the sides agreed to let the Diamondbacks explore trading him.

"Hopefully, it’s just a short-term solution and he’ll come right back," Arizona left fielder Luis Gonzalez said. "That’s one of the first things I asked him."

Finley led Arizona with 23 home runs while batting .275 with 48 RBIs. He got his wish to stay in the West and to remain in center field (Los Angeles’ Milton Bradley agreed to move to right).

"I want to thank the Diamondbacks for 5 1/2 years, probably the best 5 1/2 years of my playing career," Finley said in a statement. "We were successful and won a World Series. I want to thank the front office, the staff, my teammates for everything. I’m very thankful that (the DBacks) have given me an opportunity to possibly win another ring."

When Colorado Rockies catcher Charles Johnson exercised his no-trade clause to kill a deal that would have sent him to the Dodgers, Los Angeles got Arizona to include Brent Mayne in the Finley deal by adding Abercrombie to the package. The Dodgers needed a catcher after trading Paul Lo Duca on Friday.

Mayne, 34, hit .255 in 36 games for the D-Backs. He also is a free agent after the season.

"I’m very happy to be going somewhere with a chance to win," Mayne said in a statement.

By dealing Mayne and Finley, the D-Backs will save about $2.43 million in salary the final two months of the season.

Murphy and Hill played in last month’s Futures Game for top prospects.

Hill, a 25-year-old switchhitter, was hitting .286 with 26 doubles, 13 homers and 54 RBIs in his second straight season at Class AAA Las Vegas. A third baseman at Wichita State who converted to catcher after being drafted in 2000, Hill had a brief call-up to the Dodgers last year.

D-Backs manager Al Pedrique saw Hill last year when both were in the Pacific Coast League.

"He has some pop," Pedrique said. "For a catcher he runs well. He’s a good receiver. He has a good arm. I’m sure he’s going to help us. He plays hard."

Murphy, 23, was 6-4 with a 4.08 ERA for Florida’s Class AA Carolina affiliate. He was originally a third-round pick by Oakland in 2002 and was traded to Florida for lefty Mark Redman.

Murphy will join Class AA El Paso but could be promoted to Class AAA Tucson before the end of the month.

Abercrombie, 24, is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound speedster who has had high strikeout and low walk totals. His progress was set back last October when he suffered a torn knee ligament while playing in the Arizona Fall League.

Abercrombie will join Class A Lancaster.

NEW D-BACKS

Reggie Abercrombie, OF

• 6-3, 210 pounds, righthanded hitter, turned 24 on July 15

• Did not play until May 9 this year because of torn knee ligament suffered in October

• Hit .173 in 41 games for Class AA Jacksonville before being sent down to Class A Vero Beach, where he hit .271 with five homers in 34 games

• Has 165 stolen bases in 503 pro games

• Ranked Dodgers’ No. 10 prospect before the season by Baseball America Prospect Handbook

• Highly rated speed, range and arm strength

Koyie Hill, C

• 6-foot, 190 pounds, switchhitter, turns 26 in March

• First name pronounced "Koy"

• Hit .286 with 36 doubles, 13 homers and 54 RBIs in 91 games for Class AAA Las Vegas

• Ranked Dodgers’ No. 9 prospect before the season by Baseball America Prospect Handbook

• Considered a patient, line-drive hitter

Bill Murphy, LHP

• 6-foot, 190 pounds, turned 23 in May

• Originally drafted by Oakland (third round, 2002); traded to Florida for LHP Mark Redman in December; traded to Los Angeles on Friday as part of six-player deal

• Was 6-4 with 4.08 ERA, 113 strikeouts and 80 hits allowed in 103 2 /3 innings for Class AA Carolina

• Ranked Marlins’ No. 7 prospect before the season by Baseball America Prospect Handbook

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