After spending 10 years with the Montreal Expos, Tim Raines reached terms yesterday with the Chicago White Sox and approved a trade the two teams worked out earlier in the weekend.
"I feel pretty good about it," Raines said by telephone from his home in Lake Mary, Fla. "The only team I've ever known is Montreal. This is almost like a new beginning."
Raines, who had two years left on his contract with the Expos, said he agreed to a three-year, $10.5 million contract with the White Sox.
The Expos traded Raines, minor-league pitcher Jeff Carter and a minor-league player to be named for outfielder Ivan Calderon and pitcher Barry Jones.
After the 1990 season, Raines, 31, told the Expos he wanted to be traded. One of the reasons was to get to a team that has a stadium with natural grass.
"This is a chance to get off the [artificial] turf and possibly extend my career a few years," he said.
As a player with 10 years in the major leagues and at least five with his current team, Raines had to approve any trade that involved him.
Until recently, Raines had insisted that he would go only to a National League team and had named the Cubs, the Mets, the Braves, the Padres and the Dodgers as teams he would play for.
But recently, it became more and more unlikely that any of those teams would be willing to trade for Raines, so he began leaning toward a move to the American League.
"Those teams pretty much set themselves with free agents," Raines said of the NL teams he had favored.
Raines called the White Sox "a young, exciting ballclub" and said he expects to bat leadoff. Chicago manager Jeff Torborg said earlier this month that he would bat Raines leadoff if the Sox could get him.
During the past few years, Raines has been shifted around the Expos' batting order.
Raines said he also is looking forward to an occasional stint as the designated hitter, giving him a chance to rest up for the rigors of playing leftfield.
Raines, a career .301 hitter, batted .287 last year, with 62 RBIs and 49 stolen bases.
Calderon, 28, hit .273 with 14 homers and 74 RBIs last season. His best year was in 1987, when he batted .293 with 28 home runs.
Jones, 27, was 11-4 with a 2.31 earned run average and one save last season. He was used as a setup man for Bobby Thigpen, who set a major-league record with 57 saves.
Raines said Montreal general manager Dave Dombrowski wished him well last night by telephone.