The St. Louis Cardinals are hoping a change of altitude will work wonders for Darryl Kile.
Kile, a big-bucks bust in two seasons at Coors Field, was sent from the Colorado Rockies to the Cards in a seven-player trade Tuesday.
Along with a potential No. 1 starter, St. Louis also got a new closer in Dave Veres, who had 31 saves this year, and pitching prospect Luther Hackman.
The Rockies acquired right-handers Jose Jimenez, Manny Aybar and Rick Croushore, plus minor-league infield prospect Brent Butler.
"His whole approach will change once he get out of there," Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty said of Kile. "Getting him out of Colorado will be a major lift for him, as it would be for any pitcher."
The sides reached a tentative deal early Monday, contingent on the Cardinals' restructuring the final year of Kile's contract. Kile is scheduled to make $8 million in 2000.
The Cardinals were negotiating to reduce the salary to $6 million and add an option for 2001 with a $2 million buyout, and the final hang-up was negotiating incentive clauses for the option year.
Kile, who turns 31 next month, joins 1996 AL Cy Young winner Pat Hentgen, an 11-game winner last year who was acquired last week from Toronto, to revamp a staff that has been the Cardinals' major weakness the past two seasons.
Kile was 19-7 with a 2.57 ERA with Houston in 1997, but was a major bust in Colorado after signing with the Rockies as a free agent. He was 21-30 with a 5.84 ERA in two seasons for Colorado.
Last season, Kile was 8-13 with a 6.61 ERA. The right-hander struggled with his curveball at the mile-high altitude and those problems ended up affecting his other pitches -- he wound up with a 7.77 ERA at Coors Field, the highest home-field ERA among major league pitchers.
Catcher Terry Steinbach announced he is retiring from baseball after 13 full seasons, three with Minnesota. Steinbach, 37, signed with the Twins as a free agent in 1996 after 11 years with Oakland. Steinbach finished his career with a .271 batting average and 162 home runs, including eight grand slams. He won a World Series title with the Athletics in 1989.
Third baseman Shane Andrews agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract with Chicago, a $250,000 pay cut from his salary last season with the Expos. Andrews played the last three weeks of last season for Chicago after being cut by Montreal. In 19 games for the Cubs he batted .254 with five homers and 14 RBI.
Mark Lewis, Cincinnati's primary backup at third base, agreed to a $600,000, one-year contract, a $100,000 raise. Lewis hit .254 in 88 games last season with six homers and 28 RBI.
John Franco needs 62 saves to tie Lee Smith's career saves record and wants to know if New York will give him the chance.
Mets manager Bobby Valentine said Franco's role for next year is uncertain, possibly an indication that general manager Steve Phillips might be trying to deal the 39-year-old left-hander.
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