The Montreal Expos completed a purge of their three highest-paid players Thursday by trading speedy center fielder Marquis Grissom to the Atlanta Braves.
In return, Montreal got outfielders Roberto Kelly and Tony Tarasco and minor-league pitcher Esteban Yan. Atlanta will pay much of Kelly’s 1994 salary of $3.4 million.
The deal capped two busy days of trading for the Expos, who dealt pitchers Ken Hill and John Wetteland on Wednesday as a midnight deadline neared to offer players salary arbitration. Montreal chose to trade the three rather than risk losing in arbitration and being forced to pay salaries it says it cannot afford.
The Braves beat out the Florida Marlins and Boston Red Sox in the final bidding for Grissom, a leadoff hitter with power, speed and excellent defensive skills.
He hit .288 in 1994 with 36 stolen bases.
Montreal is not trying to sign right fielder Larry Walker, a free agent reportedly close to agreeing to terms with the Colorado Rockies.
Montreal is not the only team trading away its highest-paid players. The Kansas City Royals traded David Cone to the Toronto Blue Jays, one day after sending outfielder Brian McRae to the Chicago Cubs Wednesday. Kevin Appier and Tom Gordon could be gone today.
Cone is to be paid $5 million this season, the last of an $18 million, three-year deal.
The Royals got three minor-league prospects for Cone: infielders Chris Stynes and Tony Medrano and relief pitcher David Sinnes.
“David’s our No. 1 starter now,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.
Also, on the day before the mandatory reporting date for the delayed spring training, several players agreed to new contracts. Pitcher Pete Harnisch agreed to a three-year deal with the New York Mets and third baseman Charlie Hayes signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for $1 million plus the chance to make $500,000 more in performance bonuses.
Deion makes his entrance
Deion Sanders arrived at the Cincinnati Reds’ training camp in style and started talking about the perfect complement to his Super Bowl ring.
“Now I’m going to go to the World Series to top it all off,” Sanders said. “This is a fairy tale now I’m living.”
Sanders helped the San Francisco 49ers win the Super Bowl last season, while baseball remained bogged down in labor problems. He was a host on “Saturday Night Live” in February and appeared in a skit that satirized baseball players’ extravagant lifestyles.
He said he didn’t pay close attention to developments in the baseball strike.
“All that day-to-day stuff would drive you crazy,” he said. “It’s worse than the O.J. Simpson trial, the day-to-day strike update. I’m just having a good time. I didn’t get involved in the technical side of it.”
Sax enters new arena
Steve Sax, nearing the end of his baseball career, is getting ready for a new game - politics.
Sax, a Republican, will run for the California Assembly in 1996.
Sax, who lives in Loomis, will seek the 4th District seat being relinquished by Assemblyman David Knowles, R-Cameron Park. Knowles must leave the Assembly because of term limits next year.
The decision doesn’t mean Sax is retiring from baseball. He’s still trying to come back from surgery on his heel last year, and hopes to fulfill his contract with the Oakland A’s by playing this season.
The repeat felon accused of killing Atlanta Braves replacement pitcher Dave Shotkoski during a botched robbery attempt was indicted by a grand jury.
Police say Neal Douglas Evans, wanted at the time for parole violations, tried to rob Shotkoski while the player took an evening walk March 24 near the team’s hotel. When Shotkoski tried to run away, police say Evans shot him.
Evans, 30, of West Palm Beach, is charged with first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery. He was on his fourth conditional prison release.
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