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Sunday, November 30, 2003
Sexson trade near completion

Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Arizona and the Milwaukee Brewers are working on a trade that would send slugger Richie Sexson to the Diamondbacks, a team source with knowledge of the talks confirmed Sunday night.

The deal could come as early as Monday, the source said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.


Arizona would send infielder Craig Counsell, first baseman Lyle Overbay and left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa to Milwaukee. De La Rosa was one of four players the Red Sox sent to the Diamondbacks on Saturday for Curt Schilling.

The Boston deal won't be final until Schilling's physical exam, which is scheduled for Monday. Schilling has to pass the physical before De La Rosa can be added to Arizona's roster, and be eligible for a trade.

Sexson would provide the right-handed power bat the Diamondbacks covet. The big first baseman had 45 home runs and 124 RBIs last season. But he will earn $8.6 million next year, and the Brewers are trying to trim their already meager payroll to about $30 million for next season.

The Diamondbacks have financial constraints, too. Managing general partner Jerry Colangelo wants to cut the payroll from about $94 million last season to $80 million. That meant Schilling needed to go before other deals fell into place.

The team also is believed to be shopping closer Matt Mantei and second baseman Junior Spivey.

Contacted earlier in the day, Diamondbacks general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. declined to comment on the Sexson situation.

"I don't comment, characterize, confirm or not confirm anything that is essentially speculation on something that might be happening," Garagiola said.

The trade would give the Diamondbacks a solid pair of right-handed hitters at the corners, with Sexson at first and Shea Hillenbrand at third.

Arizona's weak offense was a major reason for the team's decline last season. Despite the loss of Schilling, the Diamondbacks think they can build a good rotation with Randy Johnson and young Brandon Webb at the top.

Counsell, a scrappy utility player and the MVP in the 2001 NL Championship Series, is from the Milwaukee area and still lives there in the offseason. He will earn $3.15 million next season.

Overbay, a left-handed hitter, was given the first-base job by the Diamondbacks as a rookie at the start of last season after a rapid rise through the minor league system. But he struggled and was sent back to Triple-A Tucson to work on his swing.