Rockies trade Cirillo to Mariners for pitching

Sunday, December 16, 2001

The Seattle Mariners completed their trade for third baseman Jeff Cirillo early Saturday, getting him from the Colorado Rockies for reliever Jose Paniagua and two pitching prospects.

The AL West champion Mariners also sent Dennis Stark and Brian Fuentes to Colorado for the two-time All-Star.

There has been speculation the Rockies will now trade Paniagua to Detroit for all-purpose player Shane Halter.

Cirillo hit .312 with a career-high 17 home runs and 83 RBIs last season. He led major league third baseman with a .982 fielding percentage.

"I had a feeling in August that I would be traded in the winter," Cirillo said. "I was just hoping it would be the Mariners."

Since 1991, Cirillo has lived during the offseason in the Seattle suburb of Redmond, Wash., where his wife, Nancy, was born and raised.

"We are very pleased to finalize this deal, cementing Jeff as our third baseman for the next several seasons," Seattle general manager Pat Gillick said. "One of our priorities this offseason was to fill our need at third. Jeff was our top choice."

Cirillo, 32, will replace David Bell, who became a free agent after hitting .260 with 15 home runs and 64 RBIs for Seattle.

"This team won 116 games last season. Hopefully, I can just come in and do my part," Cirillo said.

Colorado and Seattle agreed Thursday on the four players in the trade during the winter meetings in Boston. The Mariners then got permission from the commissioner's office for a 36-hour window to talk to Cirillo, hoping to restructure his contract.

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