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Angels swap Finley for Giants' Alfonzo

Angels swap Finley for Giants' Alfonzo

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It appears the Giants' 2006 season could be a real blast, while the Angels got the versatile infielder they wanted.

Robbed of home runs due to injuries last season, the Giants will feature -- at times -- an All-Star, power-laden outfield like few others, as newly acquired outfielder Steve Finley combines with Barry Bonds and Moises Alou for a whopping career 1,302 homers.

The threesome will be chasing four-bagger milestones, as Bonds (708) seeks to surpass Babe Ruth's 714 career standard while Alou and Finley are both three homers shy of the 300 mark.

Finley, who'll turn 41 on March 12, was traded Wednesday from the Angels for third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo. He adds experience and depth to San Francisco's outfield and gives them another strong left-handed bat.

"With his versatility, our goal is to make sure Bonds and Alou play 120 games each, and Steve can play every position," said Giants general manager Brian Sabean. "It's a good problem. With [center fielder] Randy Winn, it gives us four outfielders, and Moises can also play other positions. Our goal is to get [Finley] on the field as much as possible."

It was also good news for the Angels, as Alfonzo -- a good hitter with decent defensive range -- will play both second and third. General manager Bill Stoneman also hopes the change will mean new life for the veteran fielder, who struggled with a .277 average last year at San Francisco.

Stoneman said Alfonzo's been playing well in winter ball in his native Venezuela and is fine physically.

"With Finley, we were hoping for a better season than he had, and I'm sure the Giants were hoping for a better season for Alfonzo," said Stoneman. "They've both had better years than last year."

The deal was essentially a financial wash, according to Sabean, who had been targeting Finley -- a two-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner -- for the past three seasons.

The speedy outfielder chose the Dodgers two years ago to be close to his Arizona home and the Angels in 2005 because of family issues that have been resolved.

Now, Finley will be back in the National League, fully healthy after a strained right shoulder curtailed his production in Anaheim, and eager to show the baseball world he's not on his last legs.

"I'm so glad this trade happened -- to get traded to a place that I had my mind set on is exciting, you don't always get that opportunity," said Finley, who added he was disappointed with his season in Anaheim, where he batted .222 with 12 homers in 112 contests.

"I wanted to show [the fans] what I can do, but they only saw brief flashes. Our year wasn't bad as a team, going to the playoffs. I threw in my two cents worth and that's about all."

Sabean said he wasn't certain why 32-year-old Alfonzo, a beloved figure for the New York Mets for eight seasons, had offensive problems with the Giants. He hit two homers in April last season, but none thereafter, batting only .241 in the second half.

Alfonzo all but asked to be traded.

"I go back to that first year [2003] -- he performed pretty well, but for some reason, once he got to the West Coast, there was culture shock," said Sabean. "He left New York where he was so loved and lived in that area, and I don't know how he was able to break those ties or ever did.

"There was a combination of factors. I think he'd be the first to admit expectations didn't happen, but I don't hold that against the player. He gave the effort."

Finley will be in an all-40-and-over outfield when Alou turns 40 on July 3, but he doesn't consider himself old.

"Being the fourth outfielder is my intention, but I feel 30," said the 17-year Major Leaguer. "I hurt my shoulder the second game of the year, but I got myself in great shape and still have a lot to prove. I want my name written in the lineup every day."

The swap of Alfonzo now puts Pedro Feliz on the spot -- the third-base spot -- again. His excellent play at third wowed the Giants last year, and he hit 20 homers with 81 RBIs thanks to a brilliant first half. He still must show he can be a regular, but obviously playing other positions took its toll.

With Finley gone from the Angels, that moves Chone Figgins into the center-field role, and the acquisition of Alfonzo gives the club insurance if third baseman Dallas McPherson has a repeat of his rookie woes.

Even with Finley aboard, Sabean said he's still pondering the non-tender list and is looking for a backup infielder and possibly a backup catcher.

A fifth starter may be more difficult.

"At the end of the day, the list [of candidates] is lackluster, but we'll wade through it."

Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. John Schlegel contributed to this article. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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