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Martinez likes trade

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In the end, the Blue Jays decided David Wells had to move on. And when White Sox general manager Ken Williams came forward Saturday night with a left-handed starter, a reliever and a defensive outfielder, Gord Ash made the deal.

The White Sox traded pitchers Mike Sirotka, Kevin Beirne and Mike Williams and outfielder Brian Simmons for Wells and pitcher Matt DeWitt.

"I never had a problem with David," Jays rookie manager Buck Martinez says. "I haven't spoken to him since this whole New York thing happened, but I really feel this deal can help us. Gord has a way of stepping up when things get tough. He did it with the (Roger) Clemens, (Shawn) Green and now the Wells deals."

Sirotka, 29, won 15 games for the White Sox last year, and his 3.79 ERA tied Mike Mussina for third-best in the AL.

"He's gotten better every year (5.06 ERA to 4.00 to 3.79); he's won 40 games the last three years," Martinez says. "He's a pretty darned good pitcher. I look at our staff and see Sirotka, who threw 197 innings (average of 206 the last three seasons); Chris Carpenter threw 175 with a stint in the bullpen and being hit by a line drive; Esteban Loaiza threw 199 and (Steve) Parris threw 193. We have very encouraging reports on Joey Hamilton. We have Roy Halladay, and Jason Dickson thinks he's going to make it back. I think we're going to be all right."

The Mets went down to Sunday morning, offering Glendon Rusch and right-handed prospect Grant Roberts. But Toronto wanted an outfielder, and the Mets didn't have one to give.

"Not only does Kevin Beirne give us some more depth in the bullpen from the right side," says Martinez, "but Simmons is exactly what we need, a fourth outfielder who'll play a lot and give us speed and defense. He's a switch-hitter and he's a highlight-film center fielder."

In 126 at-bats as a rookie in 1999, Simmons batted .230 with four homers after hitting .270 with 10 homers in 285 at-bats at Triple-A Charlotte. He tore his Achilles tendon in spring training and missed the entire 2000 season, but the Blue Jays have scouted him this winter in Puerto Rico and say he is running as well as ever.

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