Sun, Jan 28, 2007 - Page 22 News List

Weaver and Seattle Mariners close to contract agreement

AP , SEATTLE

Jeff Weaver delivers a pitch for the St Louis Cardinals during the first inning of Game 5 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the New York Mets in October last year.

PHOTO: AP

Jeff Weaver and the Seattle Mariners have just about finalized a one-year contract worth US$8,325,000 -- the same salary he had last year.

Only minor details remain for the deal to be worked out, a person familiar with the negotiations said on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been completed.

The 30-year-old right-hander, who helped the St Louis Cardinals win their first World Series title since 1982, probably will take a physical early next week.

In addition to his base salary, Weaver would be able to earn an additional US$1 million in performance bonuses: US$300,000 each for 180 innings or 28 starts, and 190 innings or 30 starts, and US$400,000 for 200 innings or 32 starts.

Weaver has made 240 starts over eight major league seasons -- 34 each in 2004 and 2005, and 31 last year.

Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi has said Seattle wanted to add a free-agent pitcher.

"No, we're not done," he said on Wednesday.

St Louis had been hoping to re-sign Weaver, who won three games during the postseason. Pittsburgh was also thought to be interested.

Weaver was 3-10 with a 6.29 ERA when the Los Angeles Angels designated him for assignment on June 30, then traded him to the Cardinals five days later. He was 5-4 with a 5.18 ERA with the Cardinals, but starred during the playoffs. He was 1-1 in the World Series against Detroit, getting the victory in the Game 5 clincher by allowing two runs -- one earned -- and five hits in eight innings.

He would join a Seattle rotation with three new starters. The Mariners, coming off three straight last-place finishes in the American League West division, have a slimmed-down Felix Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn returning.

Horacio Ramirez was acquired in a trade with Atlanta for setup reliever Rafael Soriano. And Miguel Batista, an 11-game winner with Arizona last season, agreed to a US$25 million, three-year contract last month.

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