The Los Angeles Dodgers made Shawn Green one of baseball's highest-paid players Monday, agreeing to a six-year, $84 million contract to complete a deal that sends Raul Mondesi to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Dodgers acquired Green and minor league second baseman Jorge Nunez from Toronto in exchange for Mondesi and pitcher Pedro Borbon.
Green's average salary of $14 million per season is the second-highest ever in baseball, trailing only the $15 million earned by his new teammate, pitcher Kevin Brown, in a $105 million, seven-year contract he agreed to with the Dodgers in December.
It's the fourth-highest package ever in baseball, trailing only Brown, New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza ($91 million for seven years) and New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams ($87.5 million for seven years).
Dodgers general manager Kevin Malone said Green is a perfect fit for the team.
"The fact that he hits from the left side, and I think most important, his importance and his integrity," Malone said during a news conference at the general managers' meeting.
Green is a native of suburban Tustin, some 35 miles from Dodger Stadium.
"It's something to get a chance to play at home in LA," Green said at the news conference. "Everybody who knows baseball knows what a class organization this is."
Mondesi, 28, had asked the Dodgers to trade him last season. The Dodgers and Blue Jays agreed to the tentative deal Friday night, and Los Angeles was given 72 hours by the commissioner's office to work out a contract with Green.
"Shawn Green has a chance to come home to Southern California, where he went to school and spent much of his youth," said his agent, Jeff Moorad. "Raul Mondesi gets a chance for a new start in Toronto."
Moorad, also Mondesi's agent, said he had mixed feelings about the trade because both players would be leaving the teams they had spent their entire major league careers with.
Mondesi, who had been benhed for two straight games, leveled a profanity-laced tirade against Malone and manager Davey Johnson on Aug. 11, saying they were trying to blame him for the Dodgers' poor season.
Moorad said Mondesi told him Monday morning, before the deal was finalized, that he thought it was time to move on.
Bob Daly, the former Warner Bros. executive named the Dodgers' chairman, CEO and managing partner on Oct. 28, pretty much agreed it was time.
"I was disappointed that he didn't want to be a Dodger," Daly said of Mondesi. "We only want players who want to be here."
Toronto general manager Gord Ash believes the deal was a good one for the Blue Jays.
"We got some power, run production and speed, and we also got a left-handed reliever to take the place of Graeme Lloyd, who probably is going to leave us," Ash said.
Asked about Mondesi's lashing out at the Dodgers last season, Ash said, "I think there was some frustration with the club as a whole and some personal frustration. He's a very passionate player and wants to win."
Green, an outfielder who turns 27 Wednesday, made $2.9 million last season, when he hit .309 with 42 homers and 123 RBIs. He was eligible for free agency after next season and had turned down a $45 million, five-year offer by Toronto.
He gets a $4 million signing bonus, $8.75 million in 2000, $11.5 million in 2001, $12.75 million in 2002, $15 million in 2003 and $16 million in each of the final two years.
As part of the deal, Moorad said Green will donate $250,000 each year to the Dodgers' Dreams Foundation, which refurbishes youth ballparks in the Los Angeles area.
Mondesi, who hit .253 with 33 homers and 99 RBIs, had two years remaining on a $36 million, four-year contract. As part of the trade, the Blue Jays exercised two option years, making it a $60 million, six-year deal with $44.5 million remaining over four seasons.
Borbon, who turns 31 on Monday, was 4-3 with a 4.09 ERA in 70 appearances for the Dodgers in 1999. He missed the previous two seasons after elbow surgery.
It was the third major trade Detroit acquired Juan Gonzalez from Texas, and Colorado sent Dante Bichette to Cincinnati of what promises to be a hot winter for dealing. Several other big-name players are on the block, with Ken Griffey Jr. the biggest name available.
Griffey, who is eligible to become a free agent after next season, told the Seattle Mariners he wants to be traded so he could be closer to his Orlando, Fla., home. Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston and the ew York Yankees and New York Mets are considered among the teams interested in Griffey.
The Mariners also might be forced to trade superstar shortstop Alex Rodriguez, whose contract also expires after the 2000 season.
Commissioner Bud Selig, who addressed the general managers' meeting Monday, noted the number of high-impact players available and said the new, quasi-free agency that's going on this winter was expected.
"Clubs don't want to lose players to free agency," Selig said. "It's a development I'm not surprised by, given the system and everything that's gone on.
"That's not to say I'm excited about it."
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