Vida Blue and Doyle Alexander, the only pitchers with winning records among the San Francisco Giants' starters last season, were traded today, Blue to Kansas City and Alexander to the New York Yankees.
"I welcomed the deal," Blue said. "This organization appears not to have any direction. I don't mean to sound like I'm bad-mouthing, but you've got to have a game plan, and I didnn't see where we had one."
Three other 1981 Giant starters -Ed Whitson, Allen Ripley and Tom Griffin -were traded over the winter.
"The time was right to trade Vida, while he had value," said Giants Manager Frank Robinson of the 32-year-old left-hander who had an 8-6 record and 2.45 earned-run average last season but completed only one of 18 starts. He has 178 big-league victories and was the American League's most valuable player and Cy Young winner with Oakland in 1971.
Blue is among baseball's highest-paid pitchers, with a contract calling for more than $800,000 a season through 1988. In exchange for Blue and rookie reliever Bob Tufts, the Giants got pitchers Renie Martin, Atlee Hammaker and Craig Chamberlain, and a player to be named later. Only Martin, 4-5 with a 2.77 ERA last year, is certain to start the season on the Giants roster, General Manager Tom Haller said.
Alexander, 31, a right-hander who was 11-7 with a 2.90 ERA in his only season with the Giants, sought a contract extension and refused to report to spring training.
The Yankees reached a contract agreement with Alexander and traded two rookies, pitcher Andy McGaffigan and infielder-outfielder Ted Wilborn, who will join Giant farm clubs. Alexander, whose contract with the Giants was to have expired this year, was signed by the Yankees through 1985.
Alexander was with the Yankees for the second half of the 1976 season, going 10-5. He started the World Series' opening game that year, then became a free agent and signed with Texas in 1977.
Blue returns to the American League after a fouryear stay with the Giants. He had three 20-victory seasons with Oakland.
"I find it kind of ironic," Blue said. "Kansas City was always our biggest rival when I was with the A's. Now I'll be trying my hardest to beat the A's."
In another deal, the Detroit Tigers pruchased the contract of right-handed relief pitcher Elias Sosa, 31, from the Montreal Expos for an undisclosed amount of cash.