conine-jeff-getty-060605

Veteran Jeff Conine split last season between the Orioles and the Phillies. ((Jamie Squire/Getty Images))

Versatile veteran Jeff Conine was acquired Thursday by the Cincinnati Reds in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.

In return, the Phillies received minor-league prospects Brad Key and Javon Moran.

"It's a little bit of a surprise, coming a couple of days before Christmas," said Conine, who is slated to make $2 million US next season.

"We were continuing to look for a quality right-handed hitter, whether through the trade route, or free agency," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "We felt this was the best alternative.

"We had him on a list of players that might be acquired by trade to fill that role. The cost was right in terms of his contract."

Conine became expendable when Philadelphia signed former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Jayson Worth to a free-agent contract on Tuesday.

"We were not going to be able to give Jeff the playing time," Phillies general manager Pat Gillick explained. "When Werth was [signed], we thought that probably the best plan for us was to move Jeff on.

"I know he wants to play. I think Werth is a better option for us at this point."

Conine, 40, split last season between the Baltimore Orioles and Phillies, who acquired him and cash for future considerations on Aug. 17.

The first baseman/outfielder hit a combined .268 with 10 home runs, 66 runs batted in and 54 runs scored in 142 games.

"We talked about someone to go along with [incument first baseman] Scott Hatteberg," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "He hits right-handers well, too, so he might see a lot of time against right-handed pitching.

"We will start out and see where it leads. I expect he'll give us great at-bats, either off the bench or in a platoon situation."

Conine is a lifetime .286 hitter with 208 HRs, 1,034 RBIs and 845 runs in 1,923 games over 16 MLB seasons for the Kansas City Royals, Florida Marlins, Orioles and Phillies.

He is a two-time all-star, a two-time World Series champion with the Marlins (1997, 2003) and the most valuable player of the 1995 MLB All-Star Game.

With files from the Associated Press