Wed, Nov 22, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Soriano inks deal with Cubs for US$136 million

FREE SPENDERS Chicago hopes that the former National can play center field and give the team a leadoff hitter who has both speed and power

AP , NEW YORK

Alfonso Soriano is the latest beneficiary of the Chicago Cubs' spending splurge.

Soriano and the Cubs agreed on Monday to a US$136 million, eight-year contract

"We're here to win and win quickly," said general manager Jim Hendry, acting aggressively following a 66-96 season.

At the annual meeting of baseball's general managers,first baseman Nomar Garciaparra agreed to a US$18.5 million, two-year contract to stay with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Outfielder Moises Alou and the New York Mets closed in on a one-year contract worth about US$8 million to US$9 million, an official with Major League Baseball said on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been finalized.

Reds get busy

Cincinnati agreed to a US$14 million contract for three years with shortstop Alex Gonzalez and also signed a US$5.5 million, two-year deal with left-handed pitcher Mike Stanton. The Reds then sent catcher Jason LaRue to Kansas City for a player to be named later.

Outfielder Frank Catalanotto and Texas reached a preliminary agreement on a US$13 million, three-year deal, a Rangers official said.

Right-handed reliever Justin Speier agreed to terms of a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, a deal worth about US$18 million and contingent on the 33-year-old passing a physical.

On Monday, the Mets were scheduled to inform Tom Glavine whether the team would exercise his US$14 million option. The Mets said they would decline the option, allowing the left-hander to choose between New York and a return to the Braves. If he goes to Atlanta, the Mets are likely to try to sign Barry Zito.

The Boston Red Sox are expected to discuss possible trades involving Manny Ramirez, who is owed US$38 million over the final two guaranteed years of his contract. The Angels are a possible trading partner, but Ramirez can't be dealt without his consent.

Soriano, a former second baseman, could play center field and give the Cubs a leadoff hitter with a combination of speed and power. He had 46 homers and 41 stolen bases last season with the Washington Nationals, batting .277 with 95 RBIs and 41 doubles.

In total dollars, Soriano would trail only Alex Rodriguez (US$252 million for 10 years), Derek Jeter (US$189 million for 10 years), Ramirez (US$160 million for eight years) and Todd Helton (US$141.5 million for 11 years).

Comeback player

The 33-year-old Garciaparra won the NL comeback player of the year award last season, shifting to first base with the Dodgers. A former shortstop and third baseman, Garciaparra had a .303 batting average and hit 20 homers.

Alou hit .301 this year with 22 homers and 74 RBIs in 345 at-bats for the Giants. The 40-year-old, a six-time All-Star with .301 career average in 15 major league seasons, figures to replace Cliff Floyd, who was hobbled by an Achilles tendon problem for much of the year.

With Alou in left, Carlos Beltran in center and Shawn Green in right, the Mets could move to trade Lastings Milledge, who had a difficult rookie season and appeared to be at odds with some teammates.

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