Jays ship Schoeneweis to Reds

Jays ship Schoeneweis to Reds

ST. PETERSBURG -- The reality was that Blue Jays left-hander Scott Schoeneweis probably wasn't going to be re-signed for next season.

So instead of letting Schoeneweis move elsewhere during the winter, Toronto decided to get something in return by trading Schoeneweis to Cincinnati on Wednesday. The Blue Jays have yet to announce what exactly they will receive for the left-handed specialist. Schoeneweis cleared waivers and Toronto dealt him to the Reds for a player to be named later or cash.

Schoeneweis, 32, signed a two-year deal with Toronto prior to the 2005 season. He was making $2.75 million this year and the Jays want to maintain an inexpensive bullpen in '07. That means that it was highly unlikely that that Jays would bring Schoeneweis back for another year.

"It was going to be hard for us to bring him back, especially at the salaray he's making," Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "Any kind of money we can save this year enables us to put it towards next year's payroll."

The Reds will assume the remainder of Schoeneweis' contract -- which comes to around $600,000. Ricciardi said that money could be the difference in an offseason signing or arbitration hearing for next year.

Ricciardi also noted that Toronto has six months to determine who the team might acquire from Cincinnati. If the Toronto's GM isn't satisfied with the options presented, he noted that the club might just take cash considerations in exchange for Schoeneweis.

The Blue Jays also haven't announced who will replace Schoeneweis on the active roster. Ricciardi said that the Jays were leaning towards adding another pitcher to the bullpen -- possibly left-hander Davis Romero, who has pitched well for Triple-A Syracuse.

"We're going to bring up a guy [on Thursday]. We're still trying to decide," Ricciardi said. "We've got a couple kids in the Minor Leagues who have done a good job."

Toronto manager John Gibbons learned of the trade a few hours prior to Wednesday's game against Tampa Bay and he made sure to call Schoeneweis to wish him luck.

"I think he was a little shocked," Gibbons said. "Schoeney has been a valuable guy for us the last couple years. He's a good guy -- a good teammate. We're going to miss him."

Schoeneweis has been laboring through a difficult season for Toronto. Since the All-Star game, Schoeneweis has gone 0-2 with a 8.31 ERA. Prior to the break, he was 2-0 with a 5.97 ERA. The southpaw was tied for third in the American League with 55 appearances this year, entering Tuesday.

"At this point, we'd like to see some other guys and put someone else in that spot," Ricciardi said. "We obviously weren't getting as much production out of Schoeneweis as we would've liked. We're still tyring to put our best guys out there. Right now, [Jeremy] Accardo and [Brandon] League have done a better job against left-handers."

Recently, Schoeneweis has been battling a nagging leg injury. On July 27, he lost his footing during his normal pregame running routine and tweaked the area of his leg where the hamstring meets the knee. The ailment wasn't serious enough to warrant a stint on the disabled list, but Schoeneweis' leg hasn't been 100 percent since.

Since the injury, Schoeneweis has appeared in 4 1/3 innings and has given up six runs on five hits. During that same span, the lefty has walked four batters and struck out just one. On Tuesday, Schoeneweis entered the game against Tampa Bay in the eighth inning to face Carl Crawford, who bats left-handed. The southpaw walked Crawford to load the bases and was pulled from the game -- his last with the Jays.

One thing that may have contributed to Schoeneweis' struggles, according to Ricciadi, was a slight change in his approach.

"The only thing that we talked to him about was that he hasn't used his slider as much this year," Ricciardi said. "He seems to be more convinced that his sinker is the way to go to get left-handers out. He's just not getting the same results using it."

For the year, Schoeneweis went 2-2 with a 6.51 ERA for Toronto. Last year, he went 3-4 with a 3.32 ERA in a career-high 80 games. It marked the most appearances by a left-hander in club history.

Schoeneweis has appeared in 358 career games, in which he has gone 41-47 with a 5.09 ERA. He's limited left-handed hitters to a .257 batting average in his career and was a member of the 2002 Angels team that won the World Series.

The trade came on the same day that Cincinnati placed left-hander Kent Mercker on the 60-day disabled list. On Monday, the Reds learned that Mercker would need reconstructive surgery after tearing a ligament and a tendon in his left elbow. Schoeneweis will likely fill Mercker's role.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.