Braves get Sheffield in trade with Dodgers

Tuesday, January 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ Gary Sheffield was traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday for Brian Jordan, Odalis Perez and a minor league pitcher.

The Braves struggled to find an offensive complement to Chipper Jones the past two seasons, while the Dodgers had to deal with repeated complaints from an unhappy Sheffield.

Sheffield hit .311 with 36 home runs and 100 runs batted in last season after the Dodgers rebuffed his trade demand.

Jordan hit .295 with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs in 2001. Perez, a left-hander projected to be Atlanta's fifth starter, was 7-8 with a 4.91 earned run average.

The minor leaguer sent to the Dodgers from the Braves was right-hander Andy Brown, who was 3-4 with a 3.92 ERA with Class A Jamestown last season.

Even while extending their streak of division titles to 10 in a row, the Braves have struggled offensively in recent years.

Last year they were ninth in the National League in hitting (.260), 13th in runs (729) and 10th in homers (174).

Jones was their most consistent threat. Center fielder Andruw Jones struggled through long slumps, while Jordan endured another season of nagging ailments. The offensive woes led to the firing of batting coach Merv Rettenmund.

The Braves have moved aggressively during the offseason to upgrade their run production. Vinny Castilla was signed to play third base, prompting the move of Chipper Jones to left field.

Sheffield will play right and Andruw Jones will remain in center, giving the Braves one of baseball's most dynamic outfields.

The trade was foreshadowed by Atlanta's signing of pitcher Albie Lopez, who will take over as the fifth starter behind Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Kevin Millwood and Jason Marquis.

The Braves have made numerous moves after a five-game loss to Arizona in the NL championship series.

Andruw Jones agreed to a dlrs 75 million contract extension, closer John Smoltz remained in Atlanta with a dlrs 30 million deal and catcher Javy Lopez also was re-signed.

Sheffield, 33, is one of baseball's most feared sluggers but endured a tumultuous stint in Los Angeles.

Before spring training last year, Sheffield asked the Dodgers for a contract extension or a trade. The team would not rework his deal, and Sheffield called team chairman Bob Daly a liar.

Sheffield is a .295 career hitter with 315 homers and 1,016 RBIs in 13 seasons with Milwaukee, San Diego, Florida and the Dodgers.

He has two years remaining on his contract. He will earn dlrs 9.5 million in 2002, dlrs 11 million in 2003. The Dodgers had a club option of dlrs 11 million for 2004.

Jordan, 34, has two years remaining on a five-year, dlrs 40 million contract. He earned dlrs 9.1 last season and will make dlrs 6 million in 2002.

The right-handed hitter has a career batting average of .287 with 149 home runs and 656 RBIs in seven seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and three with Atlanta.

Jordan's most productive season with the Braves was in 1999, when he hit .283 with 23 homers and 115 homers.

Perez, 23, owns a 11-15 mark with a 5.38 ERA in two seasons with the Braves. He missed all of the 2000 season following elbow surgery.