Texas says A-Rod to stay, Boston signs Reese, other teams make moves

Posted: Wednesday, December 24, 2003

NEW YORK The A-Rod-to-Boston saga is over, or so the Rangers and Red Sox say.

Texas owner Tom Hicks said Tuesday he's ending attempts to complete a trade of American League MVP Alex Rodriguez to Boston for outfielder Manny Ramirez.

Hicks spoke with Red Sox owner John Henry twice Tuesday, their first conversation in four days.

''We both recognized there was too big a gulf to bridge,'' Hicks said. ''Neither one of us thought it would take the public profile it did, or get as complex as it did.''

Last week, the players' association rejected a proposal by the Red Sox to cut $28 million to $30 million off A-Rod's record $252 million contract.

Henry, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, president Larry Lucchino and general manager Theo Epstein issued a joint statement Tuesday saying ''no further discussions regarding this transaction are planned.''

Rodriguez's agent also agreed that the talks were over.

''Tom Hicks has indicated he would not consider a trade for Alex Rodriguez in the immediate future,'' Scott Boras said.

Hicks spoke several times Tuesday to Rodriguez, and said the shortstop was ''happy'' to remain with the Rangers.

''I'm 100 percent certain that when the Rangers show up for spring training in Surprise, Ariz., the guy that will be working the hardest and the guy that will be our team leader will be Alex Rodriguez,'' Hicks said.

Still, many agents and some general managers have predicted the talks could revive before spring training, citing the gulf created between the Red Sox and Ramirez, and the damage in the relationship with incumbent Boston shortstop Nomar Garciaparra.

Boston did add a middle infielder Tuesday, agreeing to a $1 million, one-year contract with second baseman Pokey Reese who didn't have a preference for Rodriguez or Garciaparra.

''Two future Hall of Famers, two All-Stars, two great people,'' Reese said. ''I'm in a win-win situation.''

Former Red Sox second baseman Todd Walker agreed to a $1.75 million, one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. He probably will back up Mark Grudzielanek.

Pittsburgh picked up its first free agent of the offseason, agreeing to a $975,000 deal with third baseman Chris Stynes.

''He had a solid year with the Rockies,'' Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield said. ''We feel he'll do a real solid job for us.''

Arizona agreed to deals with a pair of pitchers, snaring right-handers Shane Reynolds ($1 million) and Steve Sparks ($500,000). Since the end of the season, Arizona traded Curt Schilling to Boston and lost Miguel Batista, who became a free agent and agreed to a contract with Toronto. The Diamondbacks' returning starters are Randy Johnson, Elmer Dessens and Brandon Webb.

Kenny Lofton finalized his $6.2 million, two-year contract with the New York Yankees. Manager Joe Torre expects the 36-year-old Lofton and 35-year-old Bernie Williams to compete for the job during spring training.

''I'm going to go in there and do exactly what the team wants me to do,'' Lofton said. ''If they want me to play center field, I'll play center field. If they want me to park cars, I'll do that.''

AP Sports Writers Stephen Hawkins in Dallas and Howard Ulman in Boston contributed to this report.

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