BOSTON - The Boston Red Sox acquired right-hander Dustin Hermanson from the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday for three former Augusta GreenJackets.
Hermanson, 28, gives Boston a replacement for Hideo Nomo as a potential No. 2 starter. He's a younger, cheaper alternative to 37-year-old free agent John Burkett, who is seeking $15 million over three years.
Hermanson will earn about $6 million next season, the final year of his contract. Boston has an option for 2003.
"We have filled our need for a quality starting pitcher," Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette said. "His addition and his dependability as a starter gives us a better platform to take a look at some of the other needs on our team."
The Red Sox sent outfielder Rick Asadoorian and first basemen Luis Garcia and Dustin Brisson to the Cardinals.
Asadoorian and Brisson were members of this year's GreenJackets squad, while Garcia played in Augusta in the 2000 season.
Hermanson was 14-13, matching a career high for wins, with a 4.45 ERA last season.
St. Louis GM Walt Jocketty found it difficult to trade Hermanson.
"With our excess of pitching, we felt that this was the right thing to do in order to create some payroll flexibility that will allow us to pursue an everyday player," he said.
Jocketty said the deal helps replenish the Cardinals' farm system with three "quality" prospects.
Garcia hit .310 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI in 63 games for Double-A Trenton last season. Brisson hit .295 with 53 RBI in 90 games, and Asadoorian hit .212 with 40 RBIs in 47 games for the GreenJackets.
Asadoorian was a first-round draft pick in 1999 and is the latest of Boston's local talent to be dealt for starting pitching. Asadoorian was a star at Northbridge High School in central Massachusetts.
"We reluctantly included Rick in the trade," Duquette said. "We really like to draft and sign kids from New England."
Duquette said the trade doesn't preclude signing free agent pitchers, including Burkett. In fact, it improves Boston's bargaining position.
"It's my impression that some of these free agent players haven't found the market they were looking for," he said.
Hermanson played with fellow Red Sox starter Pedro Martinez for one year in Montreal. But current Boston manager Joe Kerrigan, Montreal's former pitching coach, had already left for Boston when Hermanson arrived.
Hermanson was strong in the second half of last season when he won eight of his last 14 starts and had a 3.16 ERA. He is 61-61 with a 4.22 ERA in 155 starts and 48 relief appearances in the majors.
He pitched for Montreal from 1997-2000 and San Diego from 1995-96. Hermanson was converted to a starter with Montreal.
"This is going to be my fifth team after seven seasons," he said. "I'm excited for the new chance."
MARINERS: Seattle completed its trade for third baseman Jeff Cirillo early Saturday, getting him from the Colorado Rockies for three pitchers.
The AL West champion Mariners sent reliever Jose Paniagua and prospects 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 RBI last season. He led major league third baseman with a .982 fielding percentage.
Cirillo will replace David Bell, who became a free agent after hitting .260 with 15 home runs and 64 RBI for Seattle.