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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cleveland, Atlanta Swap All-Star Outfielders

Combined reports

LOS ANGELES -- In a blockbuster trade motivated primarily by economic considerations, the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves exchanged three of baseball's best outfielders.

The Braves, freeing outfield room for Andruw Jones and Jermaine Dye and creating payroll flexibility for when Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine become free agents at the end of the season, dealt right fielder David Justice and center fielder Marquis Grissom to the Indians for center fielder Kenny Lofton and relief pitcher Alan Embree.

The Indians, who got only draft compensation when Albert Belle left as a free agent last winter, chose not to risk that scenario with Lofton, who is eligible for free agency when the 1997 season ends. General Manager John Hart said contract talks had gone far enough.

"We just felt we were not going to be able to retain him and that he was determined to file for free agency," Hart said. "We acquired two all-star players in the prime of their careers who are signed to multiyear contracts. It was too hard to pass up."

But Lofton said he never told the Indians that he was determined to file for free agency.

"It's like somebody stabbed me in the back. ... It's tough, it's really tough," complained a distraught Lofton, an All-Star the past three years who said he thought he might finish his career with Cleveland. ()