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Braves Want Sheffield

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Atlanta Braves are among the clubs that plan to pursue all-star outfielder Gary Sheffield, baseball officials said Monday.

The Dodgers do not comment on trade talks, but an official from another team said first-year General Manager Dan Evans is considering trading the club’s best run producer.

The Braves, who also pursued a deal in spring training, are on a list of 12 teams Sheffield can block. However, sources said Sheffield admires Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox and has friends on the team, so he would consider removing the Braves from his no-trade list.

Because of Sheffield’s contract situation, the Dodgers might not receive as much as they hope in exchange for the six-time all-star, officials said.

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Sheffield could demand to be traded after next season as a player traded in the middle of a multiyear contract. Sheffield would forfeit future free-agent rights if he completed the process, but it might not matter to him because he’s under contract until 2004.

Moreover, Sheffield has expressed his desire to remain with the Dodgers. Scouts consider Sheffield one of the majors’ top right-handed batters, and many believe it’s doubtful Evans could get equal value for him.

Chairman Bob Daly would make the final decision on trading Sheffield, the only player remaining in the organization from the five the Dodgers received in the Mike Piazza trade.

Jeff Shaw still does not know whether the club wants him back.

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Contacted at his family’s home in Ohio, the all-star closer said Evans had not yet spoken with him or his agent, Joe Bick, about his contract option for 2002.

The Dodgers must inform Shaw by Friday whether they plan to exercise the $7.05-million option, or buy it out for $1.5 million. If the option is exercised, Shaw has 10 days to accept or reject the contract. If he declines, the buyout would be reduced to $1 million.

Shaw, 35, finished in a three-way tie for second in the National League with 43 saves. He was 3-5 with a 3.62 earned-run average.


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