Thu, Dec 09, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Deadline for arbitration arrives

AP , NEW YORK

Braves pitcher Jaret Wright talks on a phone during team practice at Turner Field in Atlanta in this Oct. 5, file photo. Wright and the Yankees closed in on a three-year contract Tuesday worth US$20 million to US$21 million.

PHOTO: AP

Nomar Garciaparra stayed with the Chicago Cubs, Brad Radke remained with Minnesota and the Boston Red Sox made arbitration offers to Pedro Martinez and several other World Series stars Tuesday, the first big deadline of the offseason for teams and free agents.

St. Louis kept pitcher Matt Morris, and the Yankees and right-hander Jaret Wright closed in on a three-year contract worth US$20 million to US$21 million, the first major move by New York to revamp its aging rotation.

A total of 41 players were offered arbitration by the midnight deadline, including Carlos Beltran and Roger Clemens (Houston), Adrian Beltre (Los Angeles) and Carl Pavano (Florida).

They have until Dec. 19 to accept and can re-sign with their former teams through Jan. 8.

Anaheim did not offer arbitration to third baseman Troy Glaus, the 2002 World Series Most Valuable Player, and Toronto didn't offer it to first baseman Carlos Delgado.

Garciaparra agreed to an US$8 million, one-year contract to remain with the Cubs, the team that acquired him from the Red Sox at the end of July. If he stays healthy, he could make up to US$11 million with Chicago.

"I really loved playing there, I really loved the experience I had in the short time I was there," he said. "I just felt Chicago is the best place for me.

"I'm looking forward to going out there and, hopefully, turning this into a long-term relationship."

Radke got an US$18 million, two-year deal from the Twins. He went 11-8 with a 3.48 ERA in 219 2-3 innings last season, teaming with American League Cy Young pitching award winner Johan Santana to form an outstanding duo at the top of Minnesota's rotation.

"I think it turned out for the best for both sides," Radke said.

"It feels good. You know, the Twins always said that I was their top priority to sign this year and I feel the same way. I feel the Twins were my first priority, and I'm just glad it got done."

St. Louis completed a trio of deals just before the midnight deadline. Morris, a 22-game winner in 2001 but 15-10 with a 4.72 ERA last season, got a US$2.5 million, one-year contract and the chance to earn US$4.5 million more in performance bonuses.

The Cardinals also agreed to one-year deals with outfielder John Mabry (US$725,00) and pitcher Cal Eldred (US$600,000).

Wright, who will turn 29 on Dec. 29, went 15-8 with a 3.28 ERA in a big comeback season with the Atlanta Braves this year, but he lost both his starts in the playoffs.

New York offered salary arbitration to Jon Lieber and Orlando Hernandez before Tuesday's midnight deadline, giving the team until Jan. 8 to re-sign two key members of last season's rotation. However, Lieber appeared headed for Philadelphia or Cleveland.

The Yankees also reached a preliminary agreement with Tony Womack on a US$4 million, two-year contract, giving New York a starting second baseman to replace Miguel Cairo.

While no announcements were made, both Yankees deals were confirmed by a baseball official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Womack's agreement was subject to him passing a physical. After undergoing elbow surgery before last season, the speedy leadoff hitter helped the Cardinals reach the World Series, batting .307 with 26 stolen bases and 91 runs.

Chicago agreed to a US$2.5 million, one-year contract with second baseman Todd Walker, and a US$2.7 million, two-year contract with catcher Henry Blanco.

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