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Friday, January 31
Updated: March 13, 3:45 PM ET
 
New deal runs through 2004 with club option for '05

Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Craig Biggio is getting $4 million more in guaranteed money as he prepares to move from second base to the outfield.

The Gold Glove second baseman and the Houston Astros agreed Friday to a one-year contract extension through 2004, a deal that contains a club option for 2005 and could be worth up to $9 million over two years.

Biggio, a four-time Gold Glove winner at second, is being moved to the outfield to make room for former NL MVP Jeff Kent, who left San Francisco in December when the Astros gave him an $18.2 million, two-year deal.

"This was a tough situation for everyone," Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker said. "The main factor for Craig was that he was being asked to move to a new position in the last year of his contract. We had empathy for that and we wanted to show what he has meant to the Astros over the years."

Biggio will earn $8 million in 2003, the final season of a $33 million, four-year contract.

The new deal calls for a $3 million salary in 2004 and gives the Astros a a $3 million option for 2005 with a $1 million buyout. Biggio can earn $1.5 million annually in performance bonuses, $250,000 each for 450, 500, 550, 600, 650 and 700 plate appearances.

"Craig is excited about this," said Biggio's agent, Barry Axelrod. "His direction to me was that economics were not the overriding consideration. He wanted to be here as an Astro for the rest of his career."

Biggio, who met last week with team owner Drayton McLane, has spent his entire major league career with the Astros and is the team's career leader in games, hits and runs. McLane has said he wants Biggio and first baseman Jeff Bagwell to end their careers with the Astros.

Biggio, then a catcher, was the Astros first-round pick in the 1987 amateur draft.




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