Mike Hampton got his wish to leave Coors Field, but only after tens of millions changed hands in a baseball trade that resembled a complex corporate merger.
Commissioner Bud Selig signed off on the three-way deal Monday, approving a record transfer _ $36.5-million _ as Hampton went from Colorado to Atlanta after a brief stopover in Florida.
The money trail goes like this: The Braves got Hampton, $30-million to help pay his contract and the flexibility to re-sign Tom Glavine or Greg Maddux.
The Rockies rid themselves of Hampton's contract and will pay $49-million for two dismal seasons. Florida saved about $23-million in salary commitments in a trade that sent catcher Charles Johnson and outfielder Preston Wilson to the Rockies. The Braves sent the Marlins reliever Tim Spooneybarger and minor-league pitcher Ryan Baker.
After a 9-2 start in 2001, Hampton went 12-26 with a 6.62 ERA for the Rockies. This season, he was 7-15 with a 6.15 ERA, the highest in the major leagues among qualifying pitchers. But his ERA was 6.44 on the road compared with 5.68 at home.
Atlanta is on the hook for only $5.5-million of Hampton's contract the next three years, then picks up the remainder: $13.5-million in 2006, $14.5-million in '07 and $15-million in '08.
MORE BASEBALL: Texas released left-hander Juan Alvarez, who was 0-4 with a 4.76 ERA in a team-high 52 relief appearances. Kansas City waived shortstop Neifi Perez and added right-hander Ian Ferguson, left-hander Jimmy Gobble, infielder Alejandro Machado and catcher Mike Tonis to the roster. Kate Psota, a 16-year-old pitcher-shortstop, is Baseball Ontario's first female player of the year. Psota of the bantam squad that won the Western Canada title was named top junior player.
COLLEGES: In volleyball, No. 1 seed Tampa hosts the NCAA II South Region tournament this weekend. UT faces the Florida Southern-Armstrong Atlantic winner at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. South Florida is the No. 2 seed in the C-USA tournament in Chicago. USF faces the TCU-Houston winner at 2 p.m. Saturday. In soccer, the Florida State women face host UConn at 1 p.m Sunday in the NCAA Sweet 16. For the men, Central Florida faces host Florida International in the first round of the NCAA Championships on Friday.
AMERICA'S CUP: Seattle's OneWorld faces New York's Stars & Stripes and Italy's Prada takes on Sweden's Victory Challenge Saturday in Auckland, New Zealand. The best-of-seven race "second-chance" repechages combine the losers of top four quarterfinals and the winners of bottom four matches.
SOCCER: The goalie who was punched in the head by a fan during an Italian league game was released from the hospital. Police say they have identified the fan who ran on the field in Cagliari, Sardinia, knocking unconscious Messina's Emanuele Manitta.
_ Compiled from Times wires.