NEW YORK -- Barry Bonds will stay with the San Francisco Giants, deciding Wednesday to accept the team's offer of salary arbitration rather than remain in an uncertain free-agent market.
Bonds, who became a free agent after hitting a record 73 home runs, was one of three free agents to accept arbitration before the midnight deadline, joined by two Seattle Mariners: second baseman Bret Boone and third baseman David Bell.
''I'm glad he accepted it and that he'll be back with us for at least one more year,'' Giants assistant general manager Ned Colletti said. ''He said all along he wanted to finish his career here and wanted to play here.''
Eighteen players rejected the offers, including pitcher Chan Ho Park (Los Angeles) and outfielders Juan Gonzalez (Cleveland) and Johnny Damon (Oakland).
If Bonds' case goes to a hearing in February before a panel of three arbitrators, he could wind up with a one-year contract worth at least $20 million, which would shatter the arbitration record of $8.2 million set this year by Atlanta's Andruw Jones. Bonds would prefer to sign a multiyear deal.
''Barry will continue to work toward that,'' said his agent, Scott Boras.
Gonzalez's agent, Jeff Moorad, said negotiations for his client likely will stretch past Christmas and that the Indians remain a longshot.
''The door remains cracked open,'' Moorad said. ''Mark Shapiro (Cleveland's general manager) and I talked at some length today and agreed to stay in touch regarding Juan. At the same time, as I thought it might, ramped up this week. And we have begun to talk more specifically about other teams about what a multiyear contract for Juan might look like.''
Boone's agent, Adam Katz, attempted to negotiate a multiyear deal during the day but the Mariners would only guarantee three years, not four.
''Negotiations are ongoing and we're still hopeful we can come to terms on a multiyear deal,'' Katz said.
Bell's acceptance jams up the Mariners, who acquired third baseman Jeff Cirillo from Colorado on Saturday.
Free agents who accept are considered signed for next year. Those rejecting the offers can negotiate with their former teams through Jan. 8, about three weeks.
Bonds earned his record fourth MVP award this season, but the Giants were the only team to publicly admit making an offer to him. Boras told Colletti there was at least one other bid.
Four other free agents found teams, with outfielder Moises Alou agreeing to a $27 million, three-year contract with the Chicago Cubs and pitcher John Burkett getting an $11 million, two-year deal with Boston. Pitcher Dave Burba agreed to a $2 million, one-year deal with the Texas and pitcher Dennis Cook got a $1.25 million, one-year deal with Anaheim.
In addition, the Red Sox acquired second baseman Pokey Reese from Colorado for catcher Scott Hatteberg. Reese, a two-time Gold Glove, was acquired by the Rockies on Tuesday with pitcher Dennys Reyes in a deal that sent pitchers Gabe White and Luke Hudson to Cincinnati. In another deal, the Cubs traded outfielder Michael Tucker to the Kansas City Royals.
Also, reliever John Rocker agreed to a $2.5 million, one-year contract with Texas, who acquired him Tuesday from Cleveland. Right-hander Kevin Jarvis agreed to a $9 million, three-year contract with San Diego and outfielder Benny Agbayani agreed to a $600,000, one-year deal with the New York Mets. All three had been eligible for salary arbitration.
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