CUBS acquire reliever David Weathers from Brewers

Tuesday, July 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ The Chicago Cubs added another reliable arm to their bullpen as they chase a playoff spot, acquiring right-handed reliever David Weathers from the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.

The Cubs, leading the NL Central, also got minor league pitcher Roberto Miniel in exchange for pitcher Ruben Quevedo and minor league outfielder Peter Zoccolillo.

Weathers, 31, has appeared in 52 games for the Brewers this season, going 3-4 with a 2.03 ERA. He's allowed just 37 hits with 46 strikeouts in 57 2-3 innings.

``We wanted to augment the bullpen if we could,'' Cubs president and general manager Andy MacPhail said.

Weathers, who couldn't reach a deal on a new contract with the Brewers, was surprised to be headed to the Cubs.

``I'd heard the Dodgers, the Astros and possibly the Cardinals,'' he said. ``When Dean Taylor called me and said he'd made a deal with Chicago, I said, `the White Sox or the Cubs?'

``I think the Cubs have a great bullpen and that was the biggest shock to me. I thought they would be one of the last teams to come calling. But you need as many arms as you can get.''

Weathers will give the Cubs another setup reliever to go with Kyle Farnsworth, who's had a tender elbow, and Jeff Fassero. He can also pitch middle relief.

``Ruben can go into their rotation right away. We got a credible, solid major league reliever and we also got a prospect,'' MacPhail added.

It is the Cubs' fourth major move this month. They signed free agent outfielder-infielder Delino DeShields after he was released by Baltimore; traded to Cincinnati for outfielder Michael Tucker; and got first baseman Fred McGriff in a deal with Tampa Bay.

``Things have worked out well for us at this point,'' MacPhail said.

``But it's about the players on the field and not what the front office does or doesn't do. We're certainly satisfied where the record (61-43) is and we think if we stay healthy, we have a good chance to continue to do if not do a little better than we have at this point,'' he said.

Weathers is scheduled to join the team Tuesday in San Diego. He makes $1.15 million and is eligible to become a free agent after the season.

Weathers had talked to the Brewers about a contract extension but wanted a no-trade clause. Talks broke off Sunday.

``As much as we wanted to keep David Weathers in this club, in the end it didn't seem like a deal that we were comfortable with,'' Brewers general manager Dean Taylor said.

``That was a deal breaker,'' Weathers said of the no-trade clause.

``We agreed on money and structure. ... They felt like if I was a free agent at the end of the season, they wanted to get something out of it. They had to make a business decision.''

Weathers is tied for fourth in the NL in both appearances and relief innings and has held opposing hitters to a .188 average.

Last year with the Brewers, he was 3-5 with a 3.07 ERA in a career-high 69 games.

The Cubs will be Weathers' sixth major league team. He was originally selected by Toronto on the third round of the 1988 amateur draft.

He's also pitched with the Blue Jays, the Marlins, the Yankees, and the Reds, going 37-45 with a 4.87 ERA in 372 major league games, including 67 starts.

Weathers pitched for the Yankees in 1996 when they won the World Series and was 2-0 in seven postseason appearances, allowing one run in 11 innings.

Miniel, 21, was in his fifth season in the Brewers' minor league system and was 4-6 with a 4.08 ERA in 25 games this season for Class A Beloit.

Quevedo, 22, was 9-5 with a 2.99 ERA at Triple-A Iowa. He pitched in 21 games and made 15 starts for the Cubs last season, compiling a 3-10 record and a 7.47 ERA.

In Quevedo the Brewers will indeed get a starting pitcher who can step in right away, Taylor said.

``This is a young pitcher that a number of clubs have been after,'' he said.

Zoccolillo, 24, was the Cubs' 23rd round selection in the 1999 draft. The left-handed hitting outfielder was playing for the Cubs' Class A affiliate at Daytona and was batting .264 in 96 games with two homers and 35 RBIs.

Taylor said he doesn't expect any fan backlash from making a deal with rival Chicago that could help the Cubs, who are in the same division.

``Realistically, we're not going to compete against the Cubs this year,'' he said.