Trader Jack McKeon, the general manager who in the past four years has transformed the San Diego Padres from losers into National League champions, struck again tonight at baseball's winter meetings.

This time, McKeon, who may become known as Mr. December, landed LaMarr Hoyt of the Chicago White Sox, the American League's Cy Young Award winner in 1983 who has the most wins in the league (56) the past three seasons.

The Padres also acquired minor league pitchers Todd Simmons and Kevin Kristan while giving up left-handed starter Tim Lollar (11-13), versatile third baseman-outfielder Luis Salazar, promising AAA shortstop Ozzie Guillen and pitcher Bill Long to the White Sox.

In other developments, two free agents, Bruce Sutter and Lee Lacy, appeared on the verge of signing -- with Atlanta and Baltimore, respectively.

Despite a disappointing 13-18 year in 1984, Hoyt would appear to be just the sort of durable starter the shaky Padres' starting rotation needed in the '84 postseason.

"It'll be nice to have somebody out there who's a bulldog," said McKeon. "We needed somebody who is a premium pitcher and we got him. He's been a winner every year but this one. Part of that was the White Sox having a bad year. They don't have the bullpen we've got. That will help him.

"Hey, we're not done yet. I got other irons in the fire . . . We aren't building for the future any more. We're goin' for now."

As is customary in McKeon deals, he managed to help the team he traded with. "If you don't give something to get something, then nobody wants to trade with you any more," said McKeon. "The key is to match up your surpluses with somebody else's weaknesses and vice versa. That's a good trade."

Lollar is a solid starter and Chicago envisions Guillen as its shortstop of the near future.

"He reminds people of the other Ozzie," said White Sox Manager Tony LaRussa, meaning acrobatic all-star Ozzie Smith of St. Louis. "Also, Salazar is just the type of player we knew we would have to trade for."

The Orioles said they would have an announcement Friday, and it is expected to be that they have signed Lacy, a 35-year-old outfielder who hit .321 for Pittsburgh last year.

Ever since the Orioles lost out in the struggle for the man they really coveted, Andre Thornton, they have been frantically pursuing their consolation prize, Lacy, who hits for high average but with relatively little power or run production. Baltimore would use him either as a designated hitter or left fielder.

Lacy and his agent, Tom Reich (who met again here last night with Orioles General Manager Hank Peters), have been seeking a $600,000-a-season, four-year contract. That is about half of the size of the contract Thornton requested and received from Cleveland after the Orioles turned down his first proposal.

Sutter is expected to sign a contract so vast, and so vague, that it may take some time to analyze its impact on baseball. The deal, deferred over 35 years, might total as much as $48 million, although much of that is in what is called "discount dollars" because of the huge effects of compound interest and inflation.

What is certain is that it must be a whole lot of money, because the St. Louis Cardinals, with the Budweiser beer fortune behind them, haven't been willing to match dollars with Ted Turner and his WTBS superstation bid.

Sutter arrived in Atlanta this afternoon, and the club confirmed he would speak with Braves owner Turner Friday morning. Sutter was joined in Atlanta by his two agents.

One source inside Turner Broadcasting said there would be an announcement at 10 a.m. (EST) Friday, presumably of Sutter's signing. But the Braves would not confirm that report.

Another source said the meeting would occur at 10 a.m., but that there might not necessarily be an announcement at that time. Apparently, several details remained to be worked out. Elsewhere on "As The Money Turns," the wooing of Rick Sutcliffe also has come down to a battle between his old team, the Chicago Cubs, and the San Diego Padres.

If the Padres don't get Sutcliffe, then they may go higher for California Angels outfielder Fred Lynn, which would be bad news for the Orioles, who say they "never get into bidding wars" and, coincidentally, have never signed a big-name free agent.

Also, when Sutter is signed, whichever team doesn't get him may try to land California's Don Aase, which is more bad news for the Orioles, since they are interested in Aase.

The New York Yankees also had some unfinished business. They faced a 5 p.m. (CST) deadline Friday for reaching agreement on a contract with Oakland A's outfielder Rickey Henderson.

A deal that would send as many as five players -- including pitchers Jose Rijo and Jay Howell -- to Oakland for Henderson was announced Wednesday.

The Yankees, however, did not want to consummate the trade until they could get Henderson to agree to a contract.