Red Sox finalize $25.5 million deal with Clement

Updated: December 22, 2004, 9:03 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox bolstered their pitching rotation with two new starters on Wednesday, reaching a preliminary agreement with Wade Miller and finalizing their deal with Matt Clement.

Miller, who already has passed a physical, agreed to a $1.5 million, one-year contract that allows him to earn an additional $3 million in bonuses based on innings and roster time.

"They were his first choice," said Miller's agent, Bob Garber. "They were very aggressive. They outworked the other teams."

Miller was 7-7 with a 3.35 ERA in 15 starts this year before going on the disabled list June 29 with a season-ending rotator cuff injury. In his first two full seasons with the Astros (2001-02) Miller was 31-12.

He pitched through right forearm pain in 2003, but still went 14-13 with a 4.13 ERA in 33 starts.

"He feels good," Garber said. "He's been resting. That's what doctors wanted him to do."

Clement heard all about curses while playing for the Chicago Cubs, who have the longest title drought in baseball. So when he saw the Red Sox win the World Series this fall, it made him think about playing in Boston.

"Being able to overcome something like that, that's something I want to be a part of: people who are all about that," he said after finishing up a $25.5 million, three-year deal with the World Series champions.

The Red Sox also agreed to a one-year deal with lefty Lenny DiNardo on Wednesday. DiNardo, who was taken from the Mets in last year's winter meeting draft, had a 4.23 ERA in 22 games with the Red Sox; he did not pitch after going on the disabled list July 5 with a blister.

Clement agreed to terms last week but the deal wasn't final until after he passed a physical on Tuesday. Along with Miller, he fills a hole in the pitching rotation created by the departures of Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe.

Ace Curt Schilling, whose ankle hobbled him through the playoffs, is not expected to be ready for opening day. The Red Sox have also signed lefties David Wells as well as John Halama, who is expected to make spot starts while spending most of the year in the bullpen.

Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and Bronson Arroyo fill out the rotation.

"How many pitchers get the chance to pitch at Wrigley Field for three years and now get to pitch at Fenway Park -- especially after a World Series championship," Clement said.

Shortstop Edgar Renteria was Boston's biggest free agent signing this offseason. Remaining on the agenda: catcher Jason Varitek, who is seeking a five-year deal worth more than $50 million.

Varitek's agent, Scott Boras, met with the Red Sox on Tuesday.

"A huge thing for me was the catching situation. Hopefully that's the same as it's been for a while," Clement said. "When I watch catchers, I think, 'Man, I'd like to throw to this guy.' I remember saying that a lot of times" about Varitek.

Clement said he had no information on the progress of negotiations.

"As far as I know, it's something they're trying hard to do," he said.

Despite a 9-13 record with the Chicago Cubs last season, Clement was sought by several teams after Martinez signed with the New York Mets, Carl Pavano signed with the New York Yankees and Tim Hudson was traded from Oakland to Atlanta.

Clement gets $6.5 million in 2005 and $9.5 million each in 2006 and 2007. His salaries in the final two seasons can increase by up to $3 million annually based on starts and innings in the prior season, and he can earn $3 million in performance bonuses during the final year.

Clement has made at least 30 starts in each of his six full major league seasons with San Diego, Florida and the Cubs. He had a career-high 14 wins in 2003 with Chicago.

Last year, the 30-year-old Clement had a 3.68 ERA in 30 starts, with 190 strikeouts in 181 innings.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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