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Sunday, December 21, 2003
Updated: December 22, 9:34 PM ET
Oakland also agrees to deal with veteran catcher

Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. --The Oakland Athletics filled two major holes Sunday when they acquired veteran catcher Damian Miller and cash in a trade with the Chicago Cubs and signed pitcher Mark Redman to a three-year contract worth $11 million.

Oakland, the two-time defending AL West champion, also agreed to a one-year contract with outfielder Billy McMillon.

Things are starting to take shape for the A's, who last weekend lost closer Keith Foulke and MVP shortstop Miguel Tejada to big-money teams.

"I've found it sort of humorous the quotes that we've been one of the big losers of the winter," general manager Billy Beane said. "Privately, we're very excited about the moves we've been able to make in spite of the departures of some key players. We feel really good about our chances of competing in the division and hopefully returning to the playoffs."

The A's will receive $800,000 from the Cubs, who no longer had a spot for Miller after signing Michael Barrett on Sunday. Oakland will send to Chicago a player to be named.

The A's traded Barrett to the Cubs on Tuesday, a day after acquiring him from Montreal.

Redman will be the A's No. 4 starter behind the "Big Three" of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. Oakland traded starter Ted Lilly to Toronto.

"They have a great pitching staff and I'm just happy to be a part of it," Redman said. "It's going to be an incredible staff and it's going to be hard to beat down the stretch."

Initially, Beane said he expected to sign Redman to a two-year contract.

"Quite frankly, I think we're pleased it's a three-year deal because having Mark around for three years gives us some stability," Beane said.

Redman gets a $500,000 signing bonus, $1.75 million next year and $4.25 million in 2005. Oakland has a $4.95 million option for 2006, and if the A's decline Redman gets a $4.5 million player option. He can earn an additional $250,000 annually in performance bonuses.

Redman became a free agent Saturday night when the sides failed to come to an agreement on a contract before the deadline.

"The non-tender deadline was more of an artificial deadline," Beane said. "We were far enough along in the process that we were pretty sure it would get done."

Oakland acquired Redman from the Florida Marlins on Tuesday for reliever Mike Neu and a player to be named or cash. The left-hander went 14-9 with a 3.59 ERA in 29 starts for the World Series champions.

Miller takes over the position vacated when All-Star Ramon Hernandez was dealt to the San Diego Padres along with outfielder Terrence Long last month for outfielder Mark Kotsay.

Like his predecessor, Miller is well respected for his work with young pitchers and for his strong defense behind the plate. Pitchers had a 3.88 ERA in the 114 games he caught last year, and he had a .997 fielding percentage.

But he only hit .233 -- below his .262 career average -- and is due to make $3 million next season. He's also 35, and started only 24 games after the All-Star break because of a strained lower back. Beane said Miller has been determined healthy and the A's didn't require a physical.

McMillon began the 2003 season at Triple-A Sacramento but was promoted to Oakland on May 29 and spent the rest of the season with the A's. He hit .385 (10-for-26) as a pinch-hitter with four doubles, one home run and seven RBIs, leading AL pinch-hitters in batting, hits and doubles.

He hit .268 with six home runs and 26 RBIs in 66 games for the A's, who have lost in the first round of the playoffs the past four seasons.

The A's still must hire a bench coach to replace Terry Francona, the new manager of the Boston Red Sox. Beane expects to have a decision by the end of the year.

A deal with free agent reliever Arthur Rhodes was finalized Monday.