Outfielder Rickey Henderson agreed to become a New York Yankee today, triggering another deal that sent relief ace Bill Caudill to the Toronto Blue Jays.
After nearly three days of dickering, the Yankees and Henderson finally agreed to contractual terms, completing the multiplayer trade with the Oakland A's.
In exchange for Henderson, the A's got right-handers Jose Rijo, Jay Howell and Eric Plunk, left-hander Tom Birtsas, outfielder Stan Javier and a minor league player.
Having obtained pitching help, the A's dealt Caudill to the Blue Jays for shortstop Alfredo Griffin (.241), outfielder Dave Collins (.308, 60 stolen bases) and cash.
Caudill, who had a 9-7 record and 2.71 ERA last season, joins a team that has searched desperately for relief help. He saved 36 games, second-best in the American League. By comparison, the Detroit Tigers' Willie Hernandez saved 32 and won the Cy Young and most valuable player awards.
Henderson's agent, Richie Bry, said Henderson will sign for five years and will average more money a year than any other player signed this year. Bruce Sutter, who signed Friday with the Atlanta Braves, will average $1.6 million.
Henderson, who will turn 26 Christmas Day, stole 130 bases in 1982 to break Lou Brock's record of 118. He had 66 this year to beat out Collins for the AL title.
"Rickey Henderson is a player of tremendous charisma and excitement," owner George Steinbrenner of the Yankees said. "He will really turn on our great New York Yankee fans and we are really eager to put him in the lineup with our other players so he can do just that."
He is expected to play center field. In addition, the Yankees will receive 27-year-old right-hander Bert Bradley and cash.