ROSEMONT, ILL., DEC. 5 -- A 24-hour whirlwind of activity at baseball's winter meetings culminated late this afternoon with the Toronto Blue Jays trading shortstop Tony Fernandez and first baseman Fred McGriff to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Joe Carter and second baseman Roberto Alomar.
"We don't make too many trades like this these days," Toronto General Manager Pat Gillick said of the deal that San Diego General Manager Joe McIlvaine called "a good old-fashioned baseball trade -- value for value."
The day began with the Twins acquiring reliever Steve Bedrosian from the Giants for minor league pitcher Johnny Ard and a player to be named, and then the free-agent cash register continued to ring. "This has been more like a Swiss bank than a Hyatt Hotel," Gillick said.
The Mets got a leadoff man by signing outfielder Vince Coleman from the Cardinals for four years and $11.95 million. The Reds kept second baseman Bill Doran (three years, $7.4 million), the Brewers signed outfielder-first baseman Franklin Stubbs from the Astros (three years, $6 million), the Braves signed first baseman Sid Bream from the Pirates (three years, $5.5 million), and the Blue Jays signed utilityman Pat Tabler from the Mets (two years, $1.6 million). The Tigers agreed to terms with infielder Tony Bernazard, who played the last three seasons in Japan.
These signings came on the heels of Tuesday night activity that included free agent pitcher Dave Righetti leaving the Yankees for the Giants and a four-year deal worth $10 million, free agent infielder Rance Mulliniks re-signing with the Blue Jays for two years, and the Indians trading outfielder Cory Snyder and a minor leaguer to the White Sox for pitchers Eric King and Shawn Hillegas.
The Orioles stayed on the sidelines, although they tendered an offer to outfielder Dwight Evans. They had wanted Stubbs, who became the second free agent in two days to spurn them and go elsewhere in the AL East; pitcher Matt Young signed Tuesday with the Red Sox.
"You just keep working at it," said General Manager Roland Hemond, who will stay here Thursday seeking at least one of the Orioles' two main personnel goals -- a hitter or a hard-throwing left-hander.
"It's not over," he said, "and even when the meetings are over that doesn't mean it doesn't go on. It's an ongoing situation in baseball throughout the year on moves that you make. So you don't get bothered by it. You just continue to work."
The AL East competition certainly has. The Red Sox, who lost pitcher Mike Boddicker, have added Young, are pursuing free agent pitcher Bob Welch and trying to keep outfielder Tom Brunansky. The Tigers are pursuing Welch and have added pitchers Bill Gullickson and Edwin Nunez and outfielder Rob Deer. The Brewers made up for losing Deer with Stubbs and are trying to keep free agent pitcher Teddy Higuera. The Indians bolstered their pitching.
And with today's deal, the Blue Jays completed a major overhaul that makes them a younger, faster and better defensive club. First base will belong John Olerud, second to Alomar, shortstop to Manny Lee and third to Kelly Gruber. Carter and Devon White (acquired Sunday from the Angels) will move into an outfield vacated by Junior Felix (traded to the Angels) and probably by free agent George Bell.