Sports Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Clemens asks for $22 million; Gagne gets deal

NEW YORK — Roger Clemens followed a record-setting season with a record-setting salary request. Eric Gagne, another Cy Young Award winner, got a big deal, too.

After winning his seventh Cy Young Award, the Rocket asked for $22 million in salary arbitration Tuesday, easily topping the previous high of $18.5 million by New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter in 2001.

Clemens, who still hasn't decided whether to pitch this year or retire, was offered $13.5 million by his hometown Houston Astros. The $8.5 million difference was exactly double the previous record spread, set by the Yankees and Jeter.

Rather than swap figures with the Dodgers, Gagne agreed to a $19 million, two-year deal with Los Angeles that contains a club option for 2007. Gagne, the 2003 NL Cy Young winner, has the right to void the option year, however, and become a free agent.

Clemens was among 40 players who exchanged figures with their teams, a group that included Astros outfielder Lance Berkman and AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins. Gagne was among 30 players who agreed to deals before the exchange.

In addition, the Cubs and catcher Michael Barrett agreed to a $12 million, three-year contract after swapping proposals. Barrett became the 50th player to agree to a deal among the 89 who filed for arbitration Friday.

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