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July 31, 1996: Yankees acquire Cecil Fielder, David Weathers

The Yankees added some pop to their lineup today, adding right-handed power bat Cecil Fielder. New York sent minor league pitcher Matt Drews and outfielder Ruben Sierra to Detroit for “Big Daddy.”

”This is weird, but I’m going to work for the Yankees,” said Fielder. “‘I’m going to enjoy myself. This feels great. I’m relaxed and I want to help the team. This is an opportunity for me to finally get in the hunt.” (Via NY Times)

The Fielder trade is a curious one for the Yankees, who currently hold a commanding 10-game lead over the Orioles in the division. Many believe the Yankees are messing with clubhouse chemistry, but Yankee officials are confident Fielder will fit right in.

His bat will also help against left-handed pitching, something the Yankees have struggled with all season. ”All the questions have been about left-handed pitching, left-handed pitching. This should neutralize things to really better our lineup,” Torre said. (Via NY Times)

Fielder is currently hitting .248 with 26 homers and 80 RBI.

Sierra was hitting .258 with 11 homers and 52 RBI for the Yankees this year. ”Nothing surprises me. I’ve been in this league for 10 years, so none of this surprises me. But this is hard, man. This team could go to the World Series. This is hard.” (Via NY Times)

The Yankees also traded right-handed pitcher Mark Hutton to the Florida Marlins for David Weathers. Weathers, 26, could slot into the rotation as a fifth starter or go into the bullpen. Weathers is 2-2 with a 4.54 ERA in 31 games for the Marlins this year. He has not started since July 7. Hutton, 0-2 with a 5.04 ERA, will leave the only organization he’s ever known. The 26-year-old Australian was signed in 1988 as an amateur free agent.

The Yankees take on the Rangers tonight from Texas.