GRAND-SLAM TRADE; PIAZZA, ZEILE BOUND FOR FLORIDA IN SEVEN-PLAYER DEAL.
Mike Piazza's days as a Dodger have come to an end.
The Dodgers announced late Friday night they have completed a seven-player trade that sends Piazza to Florida. In addition to the catcher, third baseman Todd Zeile - a Hart High graduate - also has been sent to the Marlins for outfielders Gary Sheffield and Jim Eisenreich, third baseman Bobby Bonilla, catcher Charles Johnson and a player to be named later.
The deal - which involves $98 million in guaranteed salaries, a record amount for players in one baseball trade - was agreed to by the team Friday morning. But the 29-year-old Sheffield held up the trade because he has a no-trade clause in his six-year, $61million contract, which includes a team option for another year.
According to a Dodgers spokesman, Sheffield and his agent, Jim Peter, were trying to make the option year guaranteed, bringing the total contract to seven years, $72 million. Sheffield arrived in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon to begin negotiations with Dodgers President Bob Graziano, Executive Vice President Fred Claire and Sam Fernandez, executive secretary and general counsel.
``The Dodgers told me it was done - I'm a member of the Marlins now,'' Piazza told the Miami Herald.
The blockbuster trade surprisingly did not get started by Claire, the person usually responsible for player transactions. Chase Carey of the Fox Group and Florida Marlins President Donald A. Smiley were actually talking about a television sports deal and ended up speaking about the seven-player trade.
``I'm sorry to see this happen,'' said former Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda, who is Piazza's godfather. ``It is like seeing two people get divorced that you love very, very much.''
Piazza, the Dodgers' five-time All-Star, was batting .282 with nine home runs this season. Last year, he had arguably the best offensive season ever for a catcher and set several career bests, including a .362 average, 40 home runs and 124 RBI. The 29-year-old Piazza, who is in the final year of a two-year, $15 million contract, reportedly has been seeking a $100 million deal. After negotiations soured, the Dodgers feared Piazza, who becomes a free agent at the end of the season and can sign with any team - would leave and the team would get nothing in return.
Dodgers had to meet Mike Piazza's $15 million-a-year demand, trade him now or lose him to free agency at season's end.
Talented team with a 19-21 record needs shake-up.
Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson and Jim Eisenreich are proven winners and World Series champions.
Johnson is great defensively, handles pitchers well.
Dodgers are desperate for a clubhouse leader - like Bonilla.
Fans love future Hall of Famer Piazza
Sheffield is an extremely talented player with a suspect attitude.
Dodgers added to high payroll with four new players making $9 million more than two traded away.
Sheffield plays left field, leaving young prospects Todd Hollandsworth, Matt Luke and Paul Konerko on bench.
Oft-injured Bonilla is a short-term third base solution at 35.
WHO`S COMING, GOING . . .
The Dodgers and Marlins have confirmed a seven-player trade, which includes L.A. getting a player to be named later.
Bobby Bonilla: Third Base
Jim Eisenreich: Outfield
Charles Johnson: Catcher
Gary Sheffield: Outfield
Mike Piazza: Catcher
Todd Zeile: Third Base
6 Photos, Box
PHOTO (1--Color) Bobby Bonilla: Third Base
(2--Color) Jim Eisenreich: Outfield
(3--Color) Charles Johnson: Catcher
(4--Color) Gary Sheffield: Outfield
(5--Color) Mike Piazza: Catcher
(6--Color) Todd Zeile: Third Base
BOX: WHO`S COMING, GOING . . . (see text)
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||May 16, 1998|
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