One of the most reliable left-handed relievers in baseball,
Kline went 2-2 with a 1.79 ERA in 67 appearances for St. Louis last
season. He will earn $2.5 million in 2005 and $3 million in 2006.
Gibbons, 27, hit .246 last season with 10 homers and 47 RBI.
Gibbons, who had been eligible for salary arbitration, can earn an
additional $300,000 in performance bonuses.
The Orioles also reacquired infielder Chris Gomez from
Philadelphia for cash considerations. Gomez signed a minor league
contract with Baltimore on Dec. 8, then was selected by the
Phillies in the minor league phase of the winter meeting draft last
Los Angeles also let infielder Alex Cora become a free agent
when the Dodgers failed to offer him a contract by the 9 p.m. PT
The Dodgers agreed to one-year contracts with two players
eligible for salary arbitration: infielder Olmedo Saenz ($650,000)
and right-handed reliever Giovanni Carrara ($500,000). In addition,
the Dodgers claimed left-hander Frank Brooks off waivers from the
The move gives the Rangers extra time to negotiate with Soriano,
catcher Rod Barajas, outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. and reliever
Carlos Almanzar. All are eligible for salary arbitration hearings
in February if deals can't be reached.
Soriano, who came to Texas from the New York Yankees in the Alex
Rodriguez deal last offseason, made $5.4 million this season when
he hit .280 with 28 homers and 91 RBI before missing the last 16
games of the season with a strained left hamstring.
The Rangers didn't have any serious trade talks about Soriano at
the winter meetings last weekend. General manager John Hart expects
Soriano to remain in Texas, but also won't close the door to
substantial offers from other teams.
Mercker, 36, went 3-1 with a 2.55 earned run average in a
career-high 71 appearances for the Cubs last season. Mercker is
69-65 in his career with a 4.19 ERA in 412 relief appearances and
He'll be in his third stint with Cincinnati, where he pitched in 1997 and 2003. He was part of their payroll purge midway through the 2003 season, when the Reds dealt relievers Scott Williamson, Gabe White and Mercker. The left-hander went to Atlanta for right-hander Matt Belisle.
The Reds bullpen had a 5.12 ERA last season, second-worst in the majors. The Reds have been trying to retool it by stocking up on 30-year-olds, signing right-handers David Weathers and Ben Weber --
both 35 -- to one-year deals last week.
Second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez, who had been eligible for
arbitration, agreed to a $2.87 million, one-year contract with the
Reds, who will have to find him a new double-play partner.
Cincinnati has decided it won't bring back shortstop
Barry Larkin after 19 seasons, meaning Jimenez will be playing alongside
unproven Felipe Lopez or Anderson Machado. Jimenez hit .270 with 12
homers and 67 RBI in 152 games last season.
After signing as a free agent with Cleveland last December,
Belliard batted .282 with 12 home runs and a career-high 70 RBI in
152 games. He also set career-highs in hits (169) and doubles (48)
while making the All-Star team for the first time.
The 29-year-old Belliard has a .269 career average with
Milwaukee, Colorado and Cleveland.
Belliard will start at second next season alongside shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who will replace Omar Vizquel. Cleveland and
utility infielder Jose Hernandez agreed last week to a $1.8 million, one-year deal.
Oakland Athletics: Right-hander Chad Bradford agreed to a $1.4 million, one-year contract with the Athletics,
who also reached one-year deals with right-hander Tim Harikkala, who gets $335,000 if he is in the major leagues next
season and $100,000 if he is in the minors, and
second baseman Mark Ellis ($400,000).
Ellis can also receive an additional $275,000 in performance
bonuses, based on plate appearances. He would get $25,000 for 250
plate appearances and additional bonuses for every 50 additional
plate appearances up to 600.
The A's also offered contracts to designated hitter
Erubiel Durazo, outfielders Eric Byrnes and Bobby Kielty, and right-handed
pitchers Octavio Dotel and Juan Cruz -- all eligible for salary
arbitration. If they had not been offered contracts, they would
have become free agents Tuesday.
Bradford was 5-7 with a 4.42 ERA and one save in 68 relief
appearances with the As in 2004. Harikkala was claimed on waivers
from Colorado on Oct. 6 after going 6-6 with a 4.74 ERA in 55
relief appearances for the Rockies in 2004.
Ellis missed all of last season with a torn labrum in his right
shoulder after colliding with shortstop Bobby Crosby in a spring
training game against the Cubs.
Harikkala gets $335,000 if he is in the major leagues next
season and $100,000 if he is in the minors.
Ward, 29, hit 15 home runs and had 57 RBI in 79 games last
season. He can earn an additional $100,000 in performance bonuses.
The Cardinals declined to offer a contract to outfielder So Taguchi, making him a free agent.
Eischen, a left-handed setup man, gets $1.04 million while Tucker, a right-handed middle reliever, receives $657,000.
Interim general manager Jim Bowden also offered 2005 contracts
to outfielder Brad Wilkerson, catcher Brian Schneider, first
baseman Nick Johnson and pitchers Tony Armas Jr. and Tomo Ohka, who
all are eligible for salary arbitration in February.
Eischen made only 21 appearances last season because of elbow
injuries. He went 0-1 with a 3.93 ERA in 18 1-3 innings.
Tucker joined the Expos in April after starting the season in
the minors. He went 4-2 with a 3.72 ERA in 54 games.
Speier, 31, went 3-8 with a 3.91 ERA and seven saves in 62
appearances last season for Toronto. He'll make $1.9 million in
2005 and $2.25 million in 2006.
McDonald, 30, got a $400,000 contract for one year. He was
acquired this month from Cleveland, where he hit .204 with two home
runs, five doubles and seven RBI in 66 games last season.
The team also announced that it did not offer a contract to
infielder Eric Munson, who will become a free agent.
Sanchez hit .322 with 19 stolen bases in 79 games for Detroit in
2004. He led the American League with 29 bunt singles and finished
third with 37 infield hits.
Inge, who played five positions including catcher, hit .287 with
13 homers and 64 RBI in a career-high 131 games for the Tigers
Munson hit .212 with 19 home runs and 49 RBI last season.
Financial terms were not disclosed for Fultz, who was claimed
off waivers from the Minnesota Twins on October 14.
Fultz, 31, went 3-3 with one save and a 5.04 ERA in 55 relief
appearances with Minnesota last season. He limited fellow
lefthanded batters to a .212 average.
Mordecai, 37, spent parts of 11 seasons with Atlanta, Montreal and Florida, helping the Marlins win the 2003 World Series. He played in 172 games for the Marlins, batting .245 -- mostly in pinch-hitting roles.
The Marlins opted not to offer Mordecai salary arbitration this offseason. He finishes his playing career with a .245 average, 24 home runs and 132 RBI.
Also, the Marlins announced that pitcher Ismael Valdez (14-9, 5.13 ERA last season) declined the team's offer of salary arbitration and opted to become a free agent. In addition, Florida sent reliever Mike Neu to its Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque.
Seattle also designated right-hander Rett Johnson for
assignment, then failed to offer him a contract, making him a free
agent. The Mariners also failed to offer a contract to infielder
Luis Ugueto, who had been designated for assignment last week.
The moves set Seattle's 40-man roster, coming after last week's
acquisitions of free agent sluggers Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson
and a decision by left-hander Ron Villone to accept the team's
salary arbitration offer.
Medders opened last season with Triple-A Tucson. But after 11
relief appearances, he underwent season-ending surgery to repair a
torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Nance missed most of last season with injuries, but was 1-1 with
a 5.84 ERA in 19 games with the Diamondbacks. He was designated for
assignment on Dec. 11.