Dodgers bolster bullpen, acquire Baez and Carter from Tampa Bay
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired All-Star relievers Danys Baez and Lance Carter from Tampa Bay for two pitching prospects Saturday, strengthening their bullpen while closer Eric Gagne works his way back from elbow surgery.
The Dodgers sent right-hander Edwin Jackson and minor league lefty Chuck Tiffany to the Devil Rays in the deal. Los Angeles also gets a minor league player to be named.
Baez went 5-4 with a 2.86 ERA and a career-best 41 saves last season, earning a spot on the AL All-Star team. He has 96 saves the past three years but will almost surely be used as a setup man in Los Angeles if Gagne is completely healthy.
One of baseball's best closers, Gagne underwent season-ending surgery on his pitching elbow in June. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said the right-hander is expected back in time for spring training, but the team now has another proven closer to call on just in case.
"The bullpen is a key piece and I feel we've added to it," Colletti said. "I'll take two great closers any day of the week."
Carter was an AL All-Star in 2003, when he had a career-high 26 saves in 62 appearances. Last season, he appeared in 39 games, going 1-2 with a 4.89 ERA in 57 innings.
Jackson, once considered a top prospect, appeared in 19 games for the Dodgers over the past three seasons, going 6-4 with a 5.50 ERA. Last season, he was a combined 9-11 with a 5.91 ERA for Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A Las Vegas before going 2-2 with a 6.28 ERA for the Dodgers.
"The stuff that made him rated that high is still there," Tampa Bay executive vice president Andrew Friedman said during a conference call. "He still possesses that dominant stuff and we're excited to get him in the organization."
Tiffany went 11-7 with a 3.93 ERA and 134 strikeouts for Class-A Vero Beach last season, and the Devil Rays view him as a starter. In three pro seasons, he is 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA and 279 strikeouts.
"We didn't seek this out, but after an in-depth exploration it makes sense for us," Friedman said. "We think these guys have a real chance to be part of our future."
Baez's contract calls for a $4 million salary this year. The Devil Rays picked up his option after last season rather than give him a $1 million buyout.
Carter agreed to a $550,000, one-year deal last month.
The Devil Rays will have a revamped bullpen next season and closer is a big question mark. They recently signed right-hander Dan Miceli and Japanese reliever Shinji Mori.
AP Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick in New York and Associated Press Writer Jeremiah Marquez in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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