INDIANS TRADE BERROA: Signing Geronimo Berroa to fortify the Cleveland Indians' potent lineup seemed like a good idea at the time.
It turned into a nightmare that mercifully ended on Wednesday with Berroa getting traded to the Detroit Tigers.The Indians received minor league outfielder Dave Roberts for Berroa, then claimed pitcher Tim Worrell on waivers from the Tigers.
Worrell, 30, brother of retired Dodgers closer Todd Worrell, takes the roster spot of Berroa, who has been asking for a trade for weeks. Berroa, signed to a $2.2 million, one-year contract before the season, was unhappy with a part-time role.
"There just weren't enough at-bats here for him," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said.
Worrell was 2-6 with a 5.98 ERA in 15 outings - nine starts - for the Tigers, who acquired him from San Diego in a five-player deal last November. He is 18-29 with a 4.55 ERA in five-plus seasons. The Indians will use him as a long reliever, going with 13 pitchers until outfielder Brian Giles is ready to come off the disabled list.
CLAIRE NEARLY RESIGNED FIRST: Even though Fred Claire initiated the trade that sent Mike Piazza to Florida, the former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager never completed it. The new Fox ownership cut the deal, and didn't tell Claire until it was done.
"I wasn't happy with the way it happened," Claire said of the May deal that sent Piazza and Todd Zeile to Florida for five players, including Gary Sheffield and Bobby Bonilla.
Claire said Wednesday that he nearly resigned after being told of the trade by team president and CEO Bob Graziano. Instead, he stayed put and got fired a month later.
Claire, 62, and manager Bill Russell were fired late Sunday night after returning from a road trip to Colorado, ending their 30-year association with the team. Tom Lasorda, the former manager, took over as GM, and minor-league manager Glenn Hoffman replaced Russell.
"I was surprised," Claire said Wednesday at an outdoor news conference on the lawn behind the Ritz-Carlton hotel. "I never thought I'd get fired."
Asked if he believed his dismissal was unfair, Claire replied, "Management clearly has the right to do whatever it chooses to do, whatever it sees is in its best interest. I have no quarrel with that."
Claire didn't bash the Dodgers in his first public comments since being fired. But he made it clear he didn't like finding out second hand about a major trade that Graziano and Fox executive Chase Carey engineered.
"I said, `That's the first time being a general manager that I've ever been informed that a trade had been made,' " said Claire, who told Graziano that after the deal was made public he would have his own announcement to make "because clearly you don't need me."
Claire said Graziano told him he was fired because of the team's performance this season and last season, when the Dodgers failed to make the playoffs. Los Angeles is currently far behind San Diego and San Francisco in the NL West and has been plagued by injuries.