Colon gets $51 million from Angels

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2003

NEW YORK Bartolo Colon finalized his $51 million, four-year contract with Anaheim on Tuesday, while Atlanta signed John Thomson to replace Greg Maddux and Seattle agreed to a deal with reliever Eddie Guardado.

The market picked up as expected following the Dec. 7 deadline for free agents not offered arbitration to re-sign with their old teams.

And Boston owner John Henry took a shot at the agent for Nomar Garciaparra, saying it was the ''the height of hypocrisy'' to accuse the team of betrayal even though the star shortstop rejected the team's lucrative, long-term offer last spring.

Six free agents agreed to new deals Tuesday, raising the total of signed players to 55 among the 210 who filed after the World Series.

Thomson agreed to a $7 million, two-year contract with the Braves, and Guardado got a complicated one-year deal with two option years that can be exercised by the player or the team. He's guaranteed $13 million over three years if the options are exercised and could earn an additional $4 million in bonuses if he becomes the Mariners' closer.

Kansas City delved into the market for two players, agreeing to a $5 million, two-year contract with reliever Scott Sullivan and a $1 million, one-year deal with outfielder Matt Stairs. The Royals also were close to agreement on a $4.3 million, two-year deal with catcher Benito Santiago.

Former San Francisco closer Tim Worrell on Tuesday agreed to a $5.5 million, two-year contract with the Phillies.

Colon's deal with the Angels was completed after he passed a physical.

''I'm happy to be with the new team and have the opportunity to be able to win with them,'' Colon said, speaking through an interpreter.

Colon's contract is likely to be the second-largest for a free-agent pitcher this offseason. The New York Yankees want Andy Pettitte to re-sign, but the left-hander is being courted by the Houston Astros, who play near his hometown of Deer Park.

''I've pretty much stayed out of trying to handicap this,'' Houston general manager Gerry Hunsicker.

New York's other big free-agent negotiation, with outfielder Gary Sheffield, remains on hold.

While the sides have agreed that a deal would be for $39 million over three years, the Yankees want $15 million of the money deferred without interest, a demand Sheffield is resisting, according to a baseball official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The outfielder wants a no-trade clause, but the Yankees don't want to give it, the official said. Sheffield's agent, Rufus Williams, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Across town, the Mets planned to introduce their new shortstop, Kazuo Matsui, at a news conference Wednesday. A star with Seibu in Japan's Pacific League, he agreed to a $20.1 million, three-year contract Monday and traveled to New York for a physical Tuesday.

In another deal that could be finalized Wednesday, the Colorado Rockies were close to bringing back Vinny Castilla.

''He did not get offered arbitration by Atlanta, and that was an important step,'' Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said Tuesday. ''We're working through some issues and are going to continue to work through them.''

Boston's talks with Texas to acquire Alex Rodriguez for Manny Ramirez figure to take longer. Garciaparra says he's upset by the trade talk and wants to stay.

The Boston Globe and Herald both quoted sources on Tuesday as saying that the Red Sox offered Garciaparra a four-year deal last spring worth $60 million.

Garciaparra says he'd like to stay in Boston and his agent, Arn Tellem, told The Boston Globe that the team's efforts to acquire Rodriguez are ''a slap in the face.''

''I hope he's being more honest with his client than he is with the media because we have made credible offers,'' Henry said Tuesday at the opening of the team's academy in the Dominican Republic, according to two Boston newspapers that covered the event.

''The reason we have continued in the manner in which we have, is that his agent has given us a very clear indication that there is no common ground. He seems to believe it is still the winter of 2000.''

Tellem, reached in New York, thought Henry was out of line.

''Obviously, I strongly disagree with Henry's characterization of my comments in regards to Nomar's current situation with Red Sox,'' Tellem said. ''All further communication regarding this matter will be conducted in a private and professional manner among myself, Nomar and appropriate representatives of the Red Sox organization. As Nomar has stated, it has always been and still remains his goal to stay with the Red Sox.''

Scott Boras, Rodriguez's agent, said no meetings with the Red Sox are scheduled. Commissioner Bud Selig has given Boston permission to speak directly with the AL MVP.

Boston general manager Theo Epstein said Tuesday he wants to begin negotiating a contract extension with pitcher Pedro Martinez at the winter meetings in New Orleans this weekend. Martinez has one season and $17.5 million left on his deal.

In Atlanta, Thomson is expected to join a rotation with Russ Ortiz, Mike Hampton and Horacio Ramirez, with Trey Hodges and Jason Marquis competing for the final spot until Paul Byrd recovers from elbow surgery. Thomson was 13-14 with a 4.85 ERA last season with Texas.

''I look forward to contributing to a team that always seems to contend,'' he said.

Guardado, who converted 41 of 45 save chances for Minnesota, joins a bullpen that includes Kazuhiro Sasaki and Shigetoshi Hasegawa.

''I'm going to do whatever it takes to help the team win,'' Guardado said. ''Whatever role they put me in, I'm going to help the team out.''

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