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Shortstop likely to leave for more money

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics offered salary arbitration to star shortstop Miguel Tejada on Sunday, leaving open the possibility they could re-sign the 2002 AL MVP.

Yet it doesn't seem likely.

The Seattle Mariners seem interested and several other teams
that may need a shortstop also have more money to spend than the
low-budget A's.

Also Sunday, the A's offered arbitration to closer Keith Foulke
and lefty reliever Ricardo Rincon. They declined to offer
arbitration to outfielder Jose Guillen and pitcher Steve Sparks.

The 27-year-old Tejada wants a long-term deal so he can settle
in one city for a while and ensure his children of stability in
school.

He has said he would like to remain with the A's -- the franchise
signed him as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic and he has
played all seven of his major league seasons with Oakland.

But owner Steve Schott said during spring training the club
can't afford to give Tejada the long contract he wants and that the
A's wouldn't want to offend him with a lower offer.

Tejada has hinted he might be willing to take less money, but he
wants a multiyear deal. He made $3.65 million in 2002 and $5
million last season.

It's unclear whether his performance in 2003 -- down considerably
from his MVP season a year before -- will affect his value on a free
agent market that's expected to be tighter this year. Tejada batted
.278 with 27 home runs and 106 RBIs, striking out 65 times and
drawing 53 walks.

In 2002, Tejada hit .308 with 34 home runs and 131 RBIs to help
the A's win 103 games and the AL West.

Tejada's top objective is to reach the World Series, and he
believed he could do it with the A's last season. Instead, Oakland
lost in the first round of the playoffs for the fourth straight
season despite winning the AL West for the second year in a row.

The sides didn't negotiate during the season, but A's general
manager Billy Beane said he'd recently been in touch with Tejada's
representative.

Foulke went 9-1 last season with a 2.08 ERA and 43 saves in 72
games, striking out 88 and walking 20. He has been negotiating with
Boston.