Report: Giants acquire C Pierzynski from Twins

Updated: November 14, 2003, 4:29 PM ET

PHOENIX - Brian Sabean has seized on the financial dilemmas facing the Minnesota Twins.

In a trade announced at the general manager meetings, the San Francisco Giants acquired All-Star catcher A.J. Pierzynski and a player to be named from the Twins for reliever Joe Nathan and minor league pitchers Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano.

Sabean, the Giants' general manager, was seeking to replace 38-year-old Benito Santiago behind the plate and pounced on the chance to acquire Pierzynski, who hit .312 with 11 homers and 74 RBIs for the Twins last season and is eligible for arbitration.

"You can never pass the opportunity to add a young lefthanded hitting catcher who has been an All-Star and owns postseason experience," Sabean said. "A.J. is a young man who's just coming into his prime and we're excited about adding a quality lefthanded bat to our lineup."

The Giants lost a lefthanded bat and a switch-hitter when they declined to exercise the options on the contracts of J.T. Snow and Jose Cruz Jr. last month.

Pierzynski, 26, has been Minnesota's starting catcher for the last three seasons and likely will earn at least $2.5 million in arbitration. He is a career .301 hitter in 430 games with Minnesota.

Along with saving money, the Twins cleared the position for Joe Mauer, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan has three key free agents he would like to re-sign - left fielder Shannon Stewart, closer Eddie Guardado and set-up man LaTroy Hawkins - and needs to clear salary to make that possible.

Along with Pierzynski, starter Johan Santana, reliever J.C. Romero, first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz and second baseman Luis Rivas are eligible for arbitration, forcing Ryan to make moves.

Facing the possibility of losing both Guardado and Hawkins, both of whom may draw heavy interest in the free agent market, Ryan got some help for the bullpen along with a pitching prospect in this trade.

Nathan, who turns 29 on November 22, led all major league relievers in wins last season, going 12-4 with a 2.96 ERA. He allowed just 51 hits in 79 innings with 83 strikeouts.

Bonser, 22, was the Giants' first-round pick in the 2000 draft. The righthander split this past season between Class AA Norwich and Class AAA Fresno and combined to go 8-12 with a 3.87 ERA in 28 starts.

Liriano, a 20-year-old lefthander, was signed as a non-drafted free agent in September 2000 and owns an 8-11 career mark with a 3.64 ERA in 36 games over three seasons in Class A.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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