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At end of four-team deal, Garciaparra becomes Cub


NEW YORK - So much for the relative quiet of the non-waiver trade deadline.

While Randy Johnson stayed in Arizona, the Boston Red Sox sent shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs in a four-team blockbuster deal that reverberated throughout major league baseball.

The Red Sox, who trail the New York Yankees by 8 1/2 games in the American League East, acquired shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Montreal Expos and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz from the Minnesota Twins. The Expos obtained shortstop Alex Gonzalez from the Cubs, and the Twins received minor league pitcher Justin Jones from Chicago.

The Cubs also got minor league outfielder Matt Murton and cash from the Red Sox, and the Expos received pitcher Francis Beltran and infielder Brendan Harris from the Cubs.

Otherwise, it was a typical Saturday.

The Los Angeles Dodgers stayed busy, acquiring former Orioles center fielder Steve Finley and catcher Brent Mayne from the last-place Diamondbacks, but all moves were dwarfed by Garciaparra's exile from Red Sox Nation.

The trade was officially announced shortly after the 4 p.m. deadline for making deals without waivers.

Garciaparra, a five-time All-Star and two-time batting champ, can become a free agent after this season. He has battled injuries, and persistent rumors of his relocation, the past two seasons.

"I think he will bring a ton to the table and a presence on the field and off," said Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, who parted with Gonazalez and three prospects. "You never go to work thinking he's going to be available."

"If it was in my control, I'd still be wearing a Red Sox uniform, because it's the place I know, I love," Garciaparra said. "But I'm also going to another great place."

One of the most popular players in club history, Garciaparra almost changed cities last winter after rejecting a four-year, $60 million contract extension. The Red Sox tried to pry Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers and were willing to move Garciaparra, 31, to the Chicago White Sox or Dodgers.

When the deal with Texas fell through, Garciaparra was left in the uncomfortable position of playing for a team that wanted to be rid of him.

After going 0-for-8 to start the season, Garciaparra missed 57 games with an Achilles' tendon injury. He returned June 9.

Garciaparra is batting .321 with five home runs and 21 RBIs in 38 games. The nine-year veteran joins a team that might have to redirect its focus to the National League wild-card race after falling 10 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the Central Division before yesterday.

He should be a significant upgrade over Gonzalez, who has been injured for much of this season and is batting .217 with three homers and eight RBIs in 37 games. Cubs fans will remember him for a costly error on a double-play ball in Game 6 of last year's NL Championship Series that helped the Florida Marlins to an 8-3 victory and eventual world championship.

Mientkiewicz became expendable in Minnesota because of Justin Morneau, a top prospect who is making an impact at the major league level. Mientkiewicz is hitting .246 with five homers and 25 RBIs, but his real value comes on defense, where the Red Sox were weak at first base with David Ortiz and Kevin Millar.

In another significant move yesterday, the Yankees traded Jose Contreras to the White Sox for Esteban Loaiza, the American League's All-Star Game starter in 2003. The White Sox also received cash.

"Jose has a great deal of talent," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who couldn't complete a trade for Johnson. "This decision wasn't easy. The White Sox got themselves a hell of a player."

Contreras, who defected from Cuba and signed a four-year, $32 million contract with the Yankees in 2003, started against the Orioles on Thursday and allowed seven earned runs in 6 2/3 innings in a 9-1 loss. He's 8-5 with a 5.64 ERA.

Loiaza, a two-time All-Star, is 9-5 with a 4.86 ERA. Last year, he went 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA and finished second in the Cy Young voting. He can become a free agent after this season.

Johnson, a five-time Cy Young winner, stayed put despite drawing interest from several teams.

"I wasn't shocked one way or the other. I didn't say I wanted to leave," he said. "Nobody came to me about anything."

The Rangers got former Orioles pitcher Scott Erickson and cash from the New York Mets for a player to be named.

Former Orioles catcher Charles Johnson rejected Friday's trade to the Dodgers, preferring to remain with the Colorado Rockies. With Paul Lo Duca shipped to the Florida Marlins on the same day, Mayne becomes the Dodgers' starting catcher.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Complete list of trades

DODGERS: Acquired former Orioles CF Steve Finley and C Brent Mayne from Diamondbacks for C Koyie Hill, OF Reggie Abercrombie and P Bill Murphy. Traded P Tom Martin and cash to Braves for P Matt Merricks.

MARLINS: Traded OF Abraham Nunez to Royals for P Rudy Seanez. Acquired P Ismael Valdez from Padres for P Travis Chick.

METS: Traded former Orioles P Scott Erickson and cash to Rangers for player to be named.

RED SOX: Acquired SS Orlando Cabrera from Expos and 1B Doug Mientkiewicz from Twins, sent SS Nomar Garciaparra, OF Matt Murton and cash considerations to Cubs, who sent SS Alex Gonzalez, P Francis Beltran, IF Brendan Harris to Expos and P Justin Jones to Twins. Acquired OF Dave Roberts from Dodgers for OF Henri Stanley.

YANKEES: Traded P Jose Contreras and cash to White Sox for P Esteban Loaiza.

Four-way flurry

The four-team trade that landed five-time All-Star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra in the Windy City:

To Cubs (from Red Sox)

SS Nomar Garciaparra

OF Matt Murton* (plus cash)

To Red Sox

SS Orlando Cabrera (from Expos)

1B Doug Mientkiewicz (from Twins)

To Expos (from Cubs)

SS Alex Gonzalez

P Francis Beltran

IF Brendan Harris*

To Twins (from Cubs)

P Justin Jones*

* -- Minor leaguer

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