SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants acquired
outfielder Steve Finley from the Los Angeles Angels for third
baseman Edgardo Alfonzo on Wednesday in a swap of former All-Stars
who dropped off dramatically last season.
The 40-year-old Finley batted a career-worst .222 with 12 home
runs and 54 RBI in 112 games for the Angels, who won the AL West
for the second straight year.
"We were hoping for a better season from him, and I'm sure the
Giants were hoping for a better season from Alfonzo as well.
Neither had career years," Angels general manager Bill Stoneman
said. "I talked to Steve and I know he's working as hard as
Alfonzo played in only 109 games last season, batting .277 with
two home runs and 43 RBI.
The Giants have been interested in Finley for some time,
pursuing him twice previously in free agency -- including last
winter before he joined the Angels. San Francisco wound up signing
Finley has long produced some of his biggest hits against the
Giants while with every NL West rival except Colorado, hitting a
grand slam for the Dodgers during the final weekend of the 2004
season to keep San Francisco from making the playoffs.
"I'm excited to be going back to the National League,
especially to a team like San Francisco," he said during a
conference call. "I really wanted to come to San Francisco those
two times and I thought they were a good team. I'm so glad this
Finley gives the Giants another aging player in the outfield,
along with 41-year-old Barry Bonds and 39-year-old Moises Alou.
Finley is likely to be the team's fourth outfielder at first if
Bonds is healthy, but the Giants have been looking for a lefty to
add to their lineup as insurance in case the slugger is still
limited by his troublesome right knee. He had three operations on
the knee this year and missed most of the season.
"Steve Finley is a player that can win games in many ways --
with his bat, his glove and his knowledge," Giants general manager
Brian Sabean said. "He will give Felipe (Alou) many options in the
outfield ... as well as provide a great veteran presence."
Sabean hopes Bonds and Alou can play at least 120 games each.
Winn, the 31-year-old center fielder, had 14 home runs and 26 RBI
in 58 games with the Giants after arriving in a trade with Seattle.
Finley is a two-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner
who has reached the 20-homer mark seven times, including a
career-high 36 homers in 2004. He is the only active player with
300 doubles, 100 triples and 200 homers.
"Our goal is to get him on the field as much as possible. We're
open-minded. We didn't do this deal to have him sitting on the
bench," Sabean said. "I think it's going to be a good problem."
Finley said he will begin spring training trying to become a
starter, and Sabean is thrilled Finley is versatile enough to play
all three outfield spots.
"I feel like I've got a lot to prove," Finley said. "My goal
is to come there and have my name written in the lineup every day.
As a player, I'm coming off a year I didn't do too well and I've
got to force the issue."
Alfonzo struggled for much of his time with the Giants since
signing a $26 million, four-year contract following the 2002
season. He is still owed $1 million from a signing bonus that is
due Jan. 31, and a $7 million salary for 2006.
"He will come in and take a shot at playing a lot of infield.
Whether it would be at second or third will probably be determined
in spring training," Stoneman said. "By trading Steve Finley, it
makes it more likely that Chone Figgins is going to be playing more
out in center than he did in the past."
Alfonzo knew his future with the Giants was in question because
they want to develop Pedro Feliz as a regular starter at one
position. Feliz got 569 at-bats last season and played 79 games at
Sabean hopes Feliz will become more comfortable and productive
in a stable environment.
"Being as to what he went through this year with people out of
the lineup, it was baptism under fire," the GM said. "He's darn
close to Gold Glove-caliber at third base."