NEW ORLEANS The Boston Red Sox revved-up the AL East arms race by closing a deal for All-Star closer Keith Foulke on Saturday, hours before the New York Yankees completed their trade for Kevin Brown.
In a flurry of activity at the winter meetings, outfielders Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew and Juan Encarnacion also found new homes.
And Roger Clemens was in town, leaving open the possibility of coming out of retirement to pitch for the Houston Astros.
Cameron personally came to the fringe of the French Quarter this week, too, hoping to get a deal done. The free agent found one with the New York Mets.
The Yankees finalized their swap with Los Angeles, getting Brown for Jeff Weaver and two other players.
''He is one of the premier pitchers in the game,'' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.
Atlanta filled its need for a right fielder by obtaining Drew in a five-player trade with St. Louis. Desperate for hitters, Los Angeles acquired Encarnacion from Florida.
Foulke decided against re-signing with Oakland. Instead, the free agent reliever who led the AL with 43 saves last season reached agreement with the Red Sox on a deal that guarantees him $24 million.
''I want to be a winner before I go out,'' Foulke said.
Foulke got a three-year deal with an option for a fourth season, completing the contract after taking a physical.
''We acquired Keith Foulke not because he's a closer, but because we believe he's one of the best pitchers in baseball,'' Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said.
Foulke joins starter Curt Schilling as top pitchers acquired by the Red Sox since the season ended. Boston also is talking about getting AL MVP Alex Rodriguez from Texas in a trade for Manny Ramirez.
The Red Sox haven't won the World Series since 1918, with the Yankees often getting in the way. Since losing in this year's Series, the Yankees have traded for pitchers Javier Vazquez and Brown.
The Yankees also lost Andy Pettitte to Houston, and there remains a chance that Clemens might join him to pitch for the hometown Astros.
The Rocket was in New Orleans for a function and said that while he still considers himself retired, he's at least thinking about playing for Houston.
As Foulke decided between the Red Sox and the Athletics, who offered a four-year deal, he was particularly interested in hearing about Boston's history and its ongoing quest to win a championship.
''It was a solid team before they added Curt Schilling. That really showed their commitment to winning,'' Foulke said.
Foulke traveled to Boston recently to meet team executives, and the chance to help bring a title to an area so wrapped up in only one club was an enticing factor.
The 31-year-old righty was 9-1 with 43 saves and a 2.08 ERA for Oakland last season.
''It's too bad. We're going to miss him,'' A's outfielder Eric Byrnes said while watching a Stanford men's basketball game.
In a deal that's been brewing, the Yankees got Brown for Weaver, minor league pitcher Yhency Brazoban and a player to be named.
After letting loose Gary Sheffield who is close to going to the Yankees, too the Braves wanted a right fielder with a good bat. They hope they found one in Drew, getting him with all-purpose player Eli Marrero from St. Louis for pitchers Jason Marquis, Adam Wainwright and Ray King.
''Adam is our No. 1 pitching prospect and that was tough to do, but under the circumstances we had no choice,'' Atlanta general manager John Schuerholz said.
Drew, 28, has been full of promise since becoming the fifth pick of the 1998 draft. But he's been hurt a lot, going on the disabled list five times in the last four years.
Drew hit .289 last season with 15 homers and 42 RBIs in 100 games.
''He's been a guy that has been touted with all kinds of talent through the years,'' Braves manager Bobby Cox said. ''Unfortunately, he's had all kinds of injuries.''
Cameron reached agreement with the Mets on a three-year deal for $19.5 million. The former Gold Glove center fielder must pass a physical before the deal is done.
The Dodgers were eager to add offense after scoring a major league-low 574 runs last season. Encarnacion, 27, joined catcher Ivan Rodriguez, first baseman Derrek Lee and closer Ugueth Urbina as players to leave the Marlins since they won the title.
Encarnacion hit .270 with 19 home runs and 94 RBIs last season. He had a team-high 37 doubles and also stole 19 bases. He hasn't made an error in his last 220 games.
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