Konerko’s Chapter Closed
The Dodgers continued their team makeover Saturday by obtaining All-Star reliever Jeff Shaw from the Cincinnati Reds, who continued cutting their payroll through trades.
The Dodgers sent infielder Paul Konerko and left-hander Dennis Reyes to the Reds for Shaw, who ranks third in the National League with 23 saves.
“You look at how many games we lost in the seventh, eight, ninth inning. You see how much I wanted to get this guy,” Dodgers interim General Manager Tom Lasorda said. “I feel this Dodger club needs this relief pitcher desperately.”
The Dodgers completed the trade during their game against the San Francisco Giants. Konerko and Manager Glenn Hoffman left the Los Angeles dugout and headed to the clubhouse before the bottom of the first inning.
As they walked across the field, escorted by a policeman, Konerko asked Hoffman what was happening.
“He said, ‘Either you’re traded or I’m being fired halfway through the game,”’ Konerko said.
Only 14 players remain from the Dodgers’ opening day roster. Their biggest move came in a May 15 blockbuster trade when they sent Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile to the Florida Marlins for Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson and Jim Eisenreich.
Shaw, who grew up near Cincinnati, took less money to stay with the Reds and agreed to a three-year contract extension through 2001. He left the stadium following Saturday’s 5-4 victory over St. Louis without talking to reporters or saying goodbye to most of his teammates.
Shaw had asked for a no-trade clause, but General Manager Jim Bowden rejected the request.
The Reds, who have the fourth-lowest payroll in the major leagues, sent projected opening day starter Dave Burba to Cleveland on the eve of the opener.
“Obviously we wish the timing was a little later,” Bowden said. “First we lost our opening day starter on the eve of opening day, and now we lose our only All-Star representative just prior to the All-Star game, and that’s difficult.”
The move was not expected to be the last by Cincinnati. Shortstop Barry Larkin, who asked to be traded earlier this season, is likely to be dealt after the All-Star break.
“Nothing surprises me,” Larkin said Saturday. “Just stay tuned.”
Shaw, 31, had a 2-4 record and 1.81 earned-run average while recording 23 saves in 28 save opportunities for the Reds. Lasorda said the deal will allow the Dodgers to move Antonio Osuna and Scott Radinsky, who have been sharing the closer’s spot, back to their normal roles as setup men.
Konerko was the Dodgers’ opening day first baseman, but has bounced between the majors and minors this season. The rookie batted .215 with four homers and 16 runs batted in in 49 games this season for the Dodgers.
Konerko, 22, the Dodgers’ first-round selection in the 1994 draft, was named the minor league player of the year last season when he hit .323 with 37 homers and 127 RBIs at Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League.
Lasorda said it was tough to trade Konerko, but the Reds insisted they would not make the deal for Shaw unless they got the rookie.
“I turned down seven teams asking for Konerko,” Lasorda said. “The one guy I wanted, I had to give up Konerko to get him.”
Reyes, 21, had an 0-4 record and 4.71 ERA in 11 games, including two starts, this season for the Dodgers.
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Trade By Numbers
Season statistics for the Paul Konerko, Dennis Reyes (to Cincinnati Reds) and All-Star Dennis Shaw (to Dodgers): *--*
AB R H HR RBI Avg Konerko 144 14 31 4 16 .215
IP W-L G BB SO ERA Reyes 28 2/3 0-4 11 20 33 4.71
IP W-L SV BB SO ERA Shaw 49 2/3 2-4 23 12 29 1.81