The Los Angeles Dodgers are on the verge of trading slugging catcher Mike Piazza to the Florida Marlins as part of a seven-player deal, The Associated Press learned today.

The only thing holding up the deal is Marlins outfielder Gary Sheffield's approval. If Sheffield agrees to the trade, he will join the Dodgers along with third baseman Bobby Bonilla, catcher Charles Johnson, outfielder Jim Eisenreich and a player to be named later.In addition to Piazza, the Marlins will receive third baseman Todd Zeile.

"There has been no announcement and no deal has been made at this time," Dodgers director of public relations Derrick Hall told the AP early today. "That's all we can say."

Sheffield's agent, Jim Neader, told MSNBC on Thursday night, "We won't say anything until we talk about it with that team."

The Marlins, who have made major cost-cutting moves following their World Series victory last fall, scratched Sheffield, Bonilla and Johnson from the lineup Thursday night at Cincinnati, with manager Jim Leyland saying that he was meeting with general manager Dave Dombrowski.

"I'll talk with Dave, and there will be an announcement," Leyland said.

Thursday night's 11-8 loss was the fifth straight for the Marlins, whose 13-28 record matched their 1995 start as the worst in franchise history.

Piazza, 29, had one the greatest offensive years for a catcher in baseball history last year, hitting .362 with 40 homers and 124 RBIs. In the final year of a two-year, $15 million contract, Piazza is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.