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Sunday, December 15
Updated: December 16, 12:34 PM ET
Durazo finally lands starting job news services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- First baseman Erubiel Durazo was dealt by Arizona to Oakland on Sunday as part of a four-team trade that sent pitcher Elmer Dessens from Cincinnati to the Diamondbacks.

Dec. 15
It took him a couple of years, but Billy Beane finally got his man.

Even before Jason Giambi went for Steinbrenner's millions, Beane salivated at the prospect of acquiring Erubiel Durazo to DH and eventually take over at first base. And now, after a year of Scott Hatteberg and his .433 slugging percentage, Beane has Durazo and his .528 career slugging percentage in the lineup.

For the Athletics, though, the question will be how often Durazo is actually in the lineup. The big slugger set a career high last season in at-bats ... with 222. In giving up two of their better prospects, the A's hope that Durazo can stay off the disabled list and give them at least 400 at-bats and at least 30 home runs.

Elsewhere, the Blue Jays get a couple more prospects as they continue to rebuild their farm system, the Reds get Barry Larkin's eventual replacement, and the Diamondbacks get a pitcher who posted a 3.03 ERA last season and probably won't post a sub-4.00 ERA next season.

Toronto sent shortstop Felipe Lopez to the Reds, and the Blue Jays get a player to be named from the Athletics. As part of the deal, Cincinnati is sending cash to the Diamondbacks.

"Durazo's almost been my Holy Grail,'' Oakland general manager Billy Beane said after the deal was announced at baseball's winter meetings at the Opryland Hotel. "I have been following this guy for three years."'s Jayson Stark reports the player to be named is right-handed pitcher Jason Arnold, who is frozen on a minor league roster, and cannot be announced until after Monday's winter meeting draft. There could also be another prospect going from Oakland to Toronto, possibly outfielder John-Ford Griffin.

Also, Oakland, Toronto and Cincinnati each sent $333,333 to Arizona.

Durazo, 28, hit .261 last season with 16 homers and 48 RBI in 222 at-bats, competing for playing time with Mark Grace.

Dessens, a 30-year-old right-hander, went 7-8 with a 3.03 ERA in 30 starts. Lopez, 22, batted .227 with eight homers and 34 RBI.

Durazo was one of the hot properties at the winter meetings, with Arizona apparently content to use Mark Grace for another year at first base. Durazo battled injuries the past couple of years and never earned regular playing status, despite a .550 slugging percentage in 2002 and .528 in his career.

"He is our type of guy, our type of hitter," Beane said. "I've really been after him for the last two years, but they told me he was unavailable," Beane said.

Dessens is coming off a surprising year as he ranked sixth in the National League in ERA. He was 28-27 with a 3.94 ERA in three seasons with Cincinnati but likely got squeezed because he is arbitration eligible.

"We think with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, we have a good 1-2 punch," Garagiola said. "We came here looking to add a starter and secure the middle of the rotation. We see Elmer as a solid No. 3 starter and have liked him for awhile."

In Lopez, Cincinnati receives a former top prospect. He began 2002 as the Blue Jays' starter at shortstop but hit just .227 with eight homers and 34 RBI in 85 games and lost his job to Chris Woodward.

"We are excited to add a 22-year-old middle infielder like Felipe to the nucleus of young stars we already have, including players like Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns," Reds general manager Jim Bowden said. "We feel this is another step toward putting a championship-caliber team on the field."

The eighth overall selection in the 1998 draft, Lopez has a career batting average of .240 with 13 homers and 57 RBI in 459 at-bats.

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