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Saturday, December 7
Seattle signs all four big free agents

Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Jamie Moyer stuck to his belief that he can pitch at least another three seasons. That's how the 40-year-old left-hander landed a $15.5 million, three-year contract with the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Jamie Moyer
Starting Pitcher
Seattle Mariners
34 13 8 0 147 3.32

Moyer, who can earn up to $21.5 million if he pitches regularly, went 13-8 with a 3.32 ERA in 34 starts last season, ranking fourth in the American League with 230 innings. He has thrown at least 200 innings in four of the past five seasons.

''I really feel 200 wins is a big plateau for myself,'' Moyer said. ''I'm not a big goal setter. I've never been a big numbers person except for the innings pitched. As a starter, that's the biggest thing you can do, eating up innings.''

He is 164-125 with a 4.14 ERA in a 13-year career. Moyer turned 40 on Nov. 18, and he'll play for a new manager in Bob Melvin who's only a year older.

''There are a lot of reasons, a lot of personal reasons, that I still feel I have at least three good years left in me,'' Moyer said. ''I intend to go out and prove that.''

He also acted as his own agent, making a case that persuaded general manager Pat Gillick.

''He might just be hitting his stride,'' Gillick said. ''We're comfortable with three years and, as he said, it might go beyond that.''

Moyer spoke with ''five or six'' teams and said the Philadelphia Phillies were ''pretty serious in their bid.'' The biggest issue, though, was getting a three-year deal and playing for a team that has a chance to win.

Seattle gave him a $1.5 million signing bonus, $6 million in 2003, $6.5 million in 2004 and $1.5 million in 2005. He can earn an addition $6 million in the final season -- $1.5 million based on starts in 2003 and $4.5 million based on innings in 2004.

''Look at our season last year,'' Moyer said. ''We won 93 games, and we had some guys who had off years. Whether it was the whole year or part of the year, they didn't play to their career numbers and we still won 93 games.''

Moyer enjoyed representing himself, saying he was pleasantly surprised by the ''positive discussions'' he had with clubs. But he cautioned that he did it because he felt comfortable as a veteran.

''I would not recommend it to a younger player,'' Moyer said. ''It's on an individual basis. I could see where guys could get into a lot of trouble. Agents are good at what they do, and dealing with every organization could be different.''

Gillick called the experience ''refreshing.'' He declined to disclose details but credited Moyer's creativity, after initial discussions, to craft a counterproposal that worked for both sides.

''We listened to his side and he listened to ours,'' Gillick said. ''There was a meeting of minds.''

Moyer's signing completes Seattle's goal of keeping its four top free agents. First baseman John Olerud signed a two-year contract Friday and the team re-signed catcher Dan Wilson and designated hitter Edgar Martinez last month.

''There's still a great opportunity to win here,'' Moyer said.

Moyer returns to a rotation that includes right-handers in Joel Piniero, Freddy Garcia and Ryan Franklin. The Mariners acquired All-Star outfielder Randy Winn from Tampa Bay as compensation for Lou Piniella's release from his managerial contract.

Now, Gillick hopes to sign another starter.

''If we can do a few more things, we'll be ready to take on Oakland and Anaheim,'' Gillick said.

C Pat Borders agreed to a minor league contract that would pay him $500,000 if he is added to the major league roster. The Mariners offered arbitration to LHP Norm Charlton, who turns 40 next month and missed the 2002 season after surgery last January to repair a torn left rotator cuff. OF Ruben Sierra, INF Jose Offerman and RHP Ismael Valdes were not offered arbitration.

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