Perez, Dye traded in 3-team deal
DENVER (AP) – Jermaine Dye was traded to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday in a three-team deal that sent shortstop Neifi Perez from Colorado to Kansas City.
Colorado acquired three prospects – infielder Jose Ortiz, outfielder Mario Encarnacion and left-hander Todd Belitz.
The slick-fielding Perez, 26, was hitting .298 in 87 games for the Rockies with seven homers and 47 RBIs. The switch-hitter leaves Colorado as the club leader in career triples (49) and games played at shortstop (604). Perez won his first Gold Glove last season.
Dye, 27, was hitting .272 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs in 97 games with Kansas City. Last year he set career highs in batting (.321) and home runs (33). The Royals obtained him from the Atlanta Braves in 1997.
Technically, the Rockies traded Perez to Kansas City for Dye, then immediately traded Dye to Oakland.
”I think anyone would agree that this makes us a better team,” A’s general manager Billy Beane said.
The deal makes it clear that the A’s are serious about making a run for the playoffs. Although the Seattle Mariners have put the AL West out of reach, the A’s are still making a run at the postseason.
Going into Wednesday night’s game against Minnesota, the A’s had a major-league best 16-5 record in July and moved to within four games of the Twins for a wild-card spot.
With the trade, Dye joins a lineup that includes AL MVP Jason Giambi, and his former teammate with the Royals, leadoff hitter Johnny Damon.
”The deal, at least on paper, gives us a little boost going into the last two months,” Beane said.
The trade is the 26th completed by Colorado general manager Dan O’Dowd in his 22 months as the Rockies general manager.
”We’re trying to create a deep, 40-man roster,” O’Dowd said. ”It’s going to take time. We’ve got to be consistent with that approach, and we’ve got to make difficult trades to do that. It’s a trade we agonized over. Neifi was a great player here and still very young.”
Royals general manager Allard Baird said that the deal probably would not have happened if the Royals had been able to sign shortstop Rey Sanchez, who is having as fine a year defensively as any shortstop in the team’s history and hitting about .300. But he has refused to sign a contract extension past this season, and Baird said the Royals did not want to pass on Perez.
”The shortstop position is a premium position, so obviously we are excited about acquiring a young, accomplished player like Neifi Perez,” Royals general manager Allard Baird said. ”The opportunities to get such a talented player at this position are few and far between.”
Perez’s contract became an issue with the Rockies. He is making $3.55 million this season and has two more years of arbitration eligibility before he can become a free agent. The two sides have been unable to work out a long-term deal.
”We’re very excited about the players we got back,” O’Dowd said. ”Although they’re young and we’ll have to be patient with them, I think it’s a step in the right direction. And we’ve got to do some more things to create a club that not only is good at the major-league level but also has depth at the minor-league level. And quite honestly, there are no shortcuts to do that.”
Ortiz, 24, was named MVP in the Pacific Coast League last season after batting .351 with 24 homers and 108 RBIs. He opened the season as the A’s starting second baseman, but went on the disabled list with a calf injury after 11 games and lost his job to Frank Menechino. Ortiz has spent most of his season at Triple-A Sacramento, where he was hitting .273 and seven homers and 39 RBIs in 65 games.
Encarnacion, 23, was hitting .285 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs in 51 games for Sacramento.
Belitz, 25, appeared in five games for the A’s last season and has pitched all of 2001 in Sacramento, where he has gone 4-2 with a 5.13 ERA in 38 appearances.
Dye was expected to join the A’s Tuesday night.
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