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Cards add more power in Walker

Associated Press
Published August 7, 2004

ST. LOUIS - Star outfielder Larry Walker was traded from the Rockies to the Cardinals on Friday night for minor-league pitcher Jason Burch and two players to be named.

The addition of Walker, a three-time NL batting champion, gives the Cardinals a power-packed lineup that includes Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds. They began Friday night with the best record in the major leagues.

"This is a great opportunity for him to go to a great baseball city and have a chance to win a world championship," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said. "We tried very hard to put him in a city where he can accomplish his dream of winning a world championship."

Walker has played in the postseason once, in 1995 with the Rockies, who were eliminated in the first round.

The 1997 NL MVP, a seven-time Gold Glove winner, cleared waivers and agreed not to block the deal with his no-trade clause. Colorado is paying St. Louis $7.5-million as part of the trade.

Walker, 37, said no to a trade to the Rangers just before the July 31 deadline for deals without waivers. In November 2002, he blocked a trade to Arizona for Matt Williams, who also vetoed the deal.

Walker's salary, age and injury history likely led to him passing through waivers. He didn't play this season until June 22 because of a groin strain then hit three homers three days later in Cleveland. He has been on the disabled list eight times in his 16-year career.

He is in the fifth season of a $76-million, six-year contract that pays him $12.5-million each in 2004 and 2005. The deal has a 2006 team option at $15-million with a $1-million buyout.

Colorado agreed to pay $7.5-million of his 2005 salary.

The best player to come out of Canada, Walker has a career average of .315 with 357 homers and 1,232 RBIs. He has batted .300 nine times, including an NL-leading .379 in 1999.

Walker, who was batting .324 with six homers and 20 RBIs in 108 at-bats this season, was held out of the Rockies lineup Friday night against the Reds.

He has said in recent weeks he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to a playoff contender.

Burch, 22, was 5-5 with a 3.61 ERA and 21 saves at Class A Peoria. He was a first-round pick in 2003.

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