• 34°

Baseball GMs make last-minute trades

Pitchers Bobby Howry, Steve Reed and John Thomson moved Wednesday as playoff contenders tinkered with their rosters before the non-waiver trading deadline.

There were a half-dozen trades -- outfielders Jay Payton, Todd Hollandsworth and Alex Ochoa were involved -- but none of them were blockbusters.

''It doesn't seem like many deals were done today,'' Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said. ''I think it's because a lot of deals, with some big names, have already been made. Clubs didn't wait for the deadline to make moves.''

The big deals, and there were plenty, came before the 4 p.m. EDT cutoff. Cliff Floyd was traded twice, eventually ending up with Boston on Tuesday night, and Scott Rolen, Raul Mondesi, Jeff Weaver, Chuck Finley, Kenny Lofton, Ray Durham and Ryan Dempster also moved in July.

All those trades came despite the possibility of a players' strike before the season ends. In 1994, there was only one deal on deadline day -- Milt Thompson went from Philadelphia to Houston -- and just a handful in July as a strike approached.

Teams can still make trades this season, but now players have to pass through waivers before they can be shipped.

A day after getting Floyd from Montreal, the Red Sox bolstered their bullpen by getting Howry from the Chicago White Sox for a pair of minor league pitchers.

The right-handed Howry is 2-2 with a 3.91 ERA.

''I'm going to a contending team,'' he said. ''That's why you play, not only because you love the game, but it's about winning.''

The Red Sox are chasing the New York Yankees in the AL East, but are in the thick of the wild card race.

''We're much better. How much? I don't know. I'll let you know in about a month,'' Boston manager Grady Little said. ''Nothing can be said about the deals until you see some results.''

The New York Mets made two trades, both for pitchers. They sent Payton, pitcher Mark Corey and minor league outfielder Robert Stratton to the Colorado Rockies for Thomson (7-8, 4.88 ERA) and outfielder Mark Little.

''I'm surprised we got a starter,'' Mets general manager Steve Phillips said. ''I wasn't very confident we would. Thomson is one of the guys we had identified that if the price was right we thought he would help us. But we weren't sure the price would be right.''

The Mets also traded left-hander Bobby Jones and minor leaguers Josh Reynolds and Jay Bay to the San Diego Padres for the right-handed Reed (2-4, 1.98 ERA) and pitcher Jason Middlebrook (1-3, 5.09 ERA).

''We've addressed our pitching needs,'' Phillips said. ''Steve Reed is not the sexiest name out there among the relief corps, but he's probably the guy pitching the best.''

The Anaheim Angels, solidly in the AL West and wild card races, got Ochoa and catcher Sal Fasano from Milwaukee for catcher Jorge Fabregas and two players to be named.

''I hope I can contribute,'' Ochoa said. ''I'm happy that they wanted me, and we'll be in the race automatically. It should be fun.''

The Rockies also traded Todd Hollandsworth and pitcher Dennys Reyes to Texas for outfielder Gabe Kapler and minor league infielder-outfielder Jason Romano.

In a swap of outfielders, Pittsburgh sent Chad Hermansen to the Chicago Cubs for Darren Lewis. The Associated Press