Baseball's December to Remember continued over the weekend, with ramifications for teams from coast to coast.
The Los Angeles Dodgers said they are done with most of their winter dealing, but they went out with a bang.
Having bolstered their outfield by signing free agent Darryl Strawberry from the New York Mets to a $20 million-plus deal, they also got some pitching from the Mets as they traded for left-hander Bob Ojeda and prospect Greg Hansell, 19. They gave up outfielder Hubie Brooks, once an infielder with the Mets.
Late Friday night, the Dodgers signed former Giants outfielder Brett Butler, a new-look free agent.
The weekend's biggest move, however, was not a move at all. The American League champion Oakland A's opted to re-sign Cy Young Award winner and free agent Bob Welch for four years and between $13 million and $14 million.
"You think of a lot of things at these times, not just dollars and cents," said Welch of the offers that came his way on the heels of a season in which he had 27-6 record and 2.95 ERA. "You go where you want to play and where your heart is. Things came into focus and there was no doubt: it was Oakland."
The A's payroll now includes five players with annual salaries of more than $3 million, with Welch joining pitchers Dave Stewart and Dennis Eckersley and outfielders Jose Canseco and Rickey Henderson.
Left-handed hitting Butler is the answer to the Dodgers' search for a leadoff man. The team has been looking to fill that hole since Steve Sax signed with the New York Yankees after the Dodgers won the 1988 World Series.
Butler agreed to a three-year contract worth $10 million. The deal includes an option for 1994 that, if exercised, would make the deal worth $13 million. He is the ninth-highest paid player in baseball and the 26th $3 million per-year player.
Saturday's move makes the fate of Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela and utilityman Mickey Hatcher the next big question marks, unless either chooses to accept the offer of arbitration by Wednesday's deadline. Juan Samuel surprised the club Saturday when his agent accepted an arbitration offer. Samuel started opening day last season in center field, but was moved to second base. He is expected to compete for that spot with newly acquired Dodger Greg Smith as well as Lenny Harris and Mike Sharperson.
Brooks, coincidentally, will return to the Mets to replace Strawberry in the outfield, although Manager Bud Harrelson said after the deal he doesn't know how he will position Brooks, Vince Coleman and Kevin McReynolds. Brooks, 34, came up with the Mets in 1980. In 1990, he matched his career high with 20 home runs, hit .266 and drove in 90 runs.