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Third watch

Yankees get Boone from Reds, send Ventura to Dodgers

Posted: Thursday July 31, 2003 3:44 PM
Updated: Friday August 01, 2003 1:42 AM
  Aaron Boone Aaron Boone wanted out of Cincinnati after his father was fired as manager this week. AP

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The New York Yankees added an All-Star third baseman and yet another reliever, getting Aaron Boone and left-hander Gabe White on Thursday in a pair of trades with the payroll-slashing Cincinnati Reds.

The Yankees gave up left-hander Brandon Claussen -- their top pitching prospect -- another minor leaguer and cash for Boone, who was traded three days after his father was fired as manager.

New York then turned around and traded third baseman Robin Ventura to Los Angeles for two minor leaguers, clearing the way for Boone to settle in at third.

A few minutes later, the Yankees got White for a player to be agreed upon. All the deals were announced in the final half-hour before the non-waiver trading deadline.

"It's flattering and humbling," Boone said. "Hopefully, I can be one of those pieces that kind of does the trick."

The Reds' about-face -- firing their general manager and manager on Monday, then offering players for the best deal -- significantly changed the last days before the trading deadline.

"They've had a change of direction," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "All of baseball reacted to that. When the Reds' situation changed, it created a whole new market."

New York and the Boston Red Sox have been locked in an arms race as they fight for the AL East title, and both benefited from the Reds' sudden change of heart.

Armed to the teeth
SI.com's Tom Verducci
Give the Red Sox credit. They put the heat on the Yankees. Boston hasn't been this close to New York in the standings this late in the season since the Yankees started winning championships in the Joe Torre era. The Red Sox have definitely improved themselves, especially in the bullpen. They upped the ante on New York, and I think the Yankees got caught up in the atmosphere of holding off Boston.

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    While the first-place Yankees have recently added relievers Armando Benitez, Jesse Orosco and White, the Red Sox have traded for pitchers Scott Williamson, Byung-Hyun Kim, Scott Sauerbeck and Jeff Suppan.

    The struggling Reds started their payroll trim by shipping Williamson, their closer, to the Red Sox for prospects and money on Tuesday, one day after they fired general manager Jim Bowden and manager Bob Boone. They sent outfielder Jose Guillen to Oakland a day later.

    The Boone trade signified that the Reds are starting over midway through their first season at Great American Ball Park.

    Boone, 30, was hitting .273 with 18 home runs and a team-high 65 RBIs this season. He also led the Reds with 15 stolen bases.

    He takes over for Ventura, who was stuck in a prolonged slump. He is batting .251 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs this season.

    Boone expects to join the Yankees for their game Friday night at Oakland. There had been rumors he might get traded to Seattle -- where brother Bret plays -- or the Dodgers.

    "The fact that it's the Yankees is awesome," he said.

    Boone was smiling when he met with reporters shortly after the trade was announced. Asked about a report that he had demanded a trade after his father was fired, Boone got only four words into his reply before he stopped, looked down and started to cry.

     
    Roster purge angers Reds
    CINCINNATI (AP) -- Shortly after the Cincinnati Reds fired their manager and general manager, chief operating officer John Allen assured players that he wasn't writing off the season.

    Four rapid-fire trades told them something else.

    "Obviously the actions that have been taken since that statement aren't consistent with that," shortstop Barry Larkin said Thursday, after third baseman Aaron Boone was traded to the Yankees. "My reaction is, it's a salary dump.

    "It doesn't make a difference if I'm upset or whatever. It's not about our feelings. It's about money, obviously."

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    He turned his back, walked away from the podium and sobbed as media relations director Rob Butcher hugged him.

    Boone left the interview room to compose himself for a few minutes, then returned with a bottle of water and tissues. He said he met with owner Carl Lindner on Wednesday to clear the air.

    "Absolutely I did not demand a trade," Boone said, sniffling between sentences. "That's ridiculous.

    "It was important that I talked to him and cleared up all kinds of things that you hear out there. I wanted to talk to him face-to-face. My biggest concern was I didn't want to be here out of popularity or PR or being a poster boy or anything like that. I wanted to be here for all the right reasons. I want what's best not only for myself but the Reds."

    White, 31, was 3-0 with 3.93 ERA in 34 relief appearances. He has been on the disabled list since June 25 because of a strained left groin.

    Brad Kullman, one of Bowden's assistants who was ordered to make deals, disagreed with the assessment of several players that the club was starting over.

    "How can you take a team that has Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Ken Griffey Jr., Sean Casey and call it starting from scratch?" Kullman said. "This team is not as bad as a lot of people think. Overall the drop-off is not as drastic for tonight's game as people might think."

    The trade also could affect Drew Henson, the former Michigan quarterback who passed on the NFL to play third base for the Yankees. Cashman said Henson "hasn't developed," and the organization will talk to him about his future.

    Claussen, 24, was considered the Yankees' top minor league prospect. He beat the New York Mets in his major league debut on June 28, his only game for the Yankees.

    With Class AAA Columbus this year, he was 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA in 11 starts. He began the season at Class A Tampa, going 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA.

    "We think he is the real deal," Cashman said.

    The Reds also got left-hander Charlie Manning, 24, who split time this season with Class A Tampa and Class AA Trenton. He was 2-6 overall.

    For Ventura, the Yankees got outfielder Bubba Crosby and right-handed pitcher Scott Proctor.

    Crosby was batting a Pacific Coast-leading .361 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs for Class AAA Las Vegas. Proctor was 5-4 with a 2.58 ERA in 41 relief appearances with Class AA Jacksonville and Las Vegas.


     
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