The New York Yankees, with a 66-37 record, the best in the majors going into the final third of the season, acquired a pitcher, infielder and outfielder before the Major League Baseball trade deadline expired.
The World Series champions got pitcher Kerry Wood and outfielder Austin Kearns from the Cleveland Indians, and first baseman Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros.
The deals were completed before yesterday’s 4 p.m. New York time deadline for player trades outside baseball’s waiver system. Trades can be made after the expiration, but players must first pass through waivers, giving other teams the chance to claim them.
The Yankees traded for Wood just as he was reinstated by the Indians, who placed him on the disabled list July 12 with a blister on his right index finger. At the start of the season, he didn’t pitch until May 8 after he sustained an upper back muscle strain.
The Yankees will send Cleveland a player to be named or $500,000, and the Indians gave New York $2.2 million, the Associated Press reported. New York will pay $1.5 million of the $3.8 million left on Wood’s salary, the wire service said.
Wood, 33, is 1-4 with eight saves and a 6.30 earned run average in 23 games this season for the Indians. In nine of his last 11 appearances, he struck out 10 and held opponents scoreless.
Wood was selected by the Chicago Cubs as the fourth overall pick in the 1995 First-Year Player Draft. He has a career record of 81-68 with a 3.71 ERA in 357 games during 12 seasons with the Cubs and Indians.
The Yankees acquired Berkman from the Astros for two minor-league players. Berkman also will be used as a designated hitter, the Yankees said. Houston received right-handed pitcher Mark Melancon and infielder Jimmy Parades in return for the five-time All-Star.
The Astros will pay $4 million as part of the deal, AP reported.
Berkman, 34, had spent his entire 11-year major-league career with Houston, batting .296 with 326 home runs and 1,090 runs batted in. He has a .245 average with 13 homers and 49 RBI this season.
Kearns Joins Yankees
The Yankees also acquired Kearns from Cleveland for a player to be named or cash in a July 30 deal. Kearns, 30, hit .272 with eight home runs and 42 runs batted in during 84 games in which he played all three outfield positions with the Indians this season.
Kearns was selected by Cincinnati in the first round of the 1998 draft. He has a career .258 batting average with 113 home runs and 464 RBI in 926 games over nine seasons with the Reds, Washington Nationals and Indians.
The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired right-handed pitcher Octavio Dotel and cash from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for right-handed pitcher James McDonald and minor-league outfielder Andrew Lambo.
The Dodgers also got left-handed pitcher Ted Lilly, infielder Ryan Theriot and cash from the Chicago Cubs, who acquired infielder Blake DeWitt and minor-league right-handed pitchers Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach.
In a three-team deal, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired right-hander Jake Westbrook from the Cleveland Indians and sent outfielder Ryan Ludwick to the San Diego Padres.
Westbrook, 32, is 6-7 with a 4.65 earned run average in 21 starts this season, his 10th with the Indians. An All-Star in 2004, he’s 69-71 with a 4.34 ERA in 221 career games, including 181 starts.
Ludwick, 32, is batting .281 with 11 homers and 43 runs this season. He has a .272 average with 98 homers and 349 over eight seasons for three teams and was an All-Star with the Cardinals in 2008.
Cleveland also received minor-league pitcher Corey Kluber from the Padres, while the Cardinals got minor-league pitcher Nick Greenwood from the Padres and cash from the Indians.
Tampa Bay acquired reliever Chad Qualls from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named.
Qualls, 31, has 12 saves with a 1-4 record and 8.29 earned run average in 43 games this season. He’s 30-26 with a 3.75 ERA and 51 saves over his seven-year career with Houston and Arizona.
The Diamondbacks also sent catcher Chris Snyder to the Pirates for infielder Bobby Crosby, outfielder Ryan Church and right-hander D.J. Carrasco. Pittsburgh also got minor-league shortstop Pedro Ciriaco and money in the five-player trade between the last-place teams in the National League.
In a five-player deal between Atlanta and Kansas City, the Braves got outfielder Rick Ankiel and right-hander Kyle Farnsworth for reliever Jesse Chavez, outfielder Gregor Blanco and minor-league pitcher Tim Collins.
The Baltimore Orioles traded left-hander Will Ohman to the Florida Marlins for right-hander Rick VandenHurk.
The Boston Red Sox sent reliever Ramon Ramirez to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for minor-league pitcher Daniel Turpen.
Edwin Jackson, who pitched one of Major League Baseball’s five no-hitters this season for the Diamondbacks, was traded on July 30 to the Chicago White Sox for pitchers Daniel Hudson and David Homberg.
Two days before the deadline, three-time All-Star pitcher Roy Oswalt joined the Philadelphia Phillies from the Houston Astros. To get Oswalt, the Phillies gave up their best young starter, J.A. Happ, and two prospects.