Slugger will receive $5M signing bonus

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Outfielder Vladimir Guerrero got his No. 27 Angels jersey Monday after finalizing a $70 million, five-year contract as Anaheim's fourth new high-profile free agent acquisition.

Guerrero spoke to reporters in Spanish at his debut news
conference, then uttered a few words in English before owner Arte
Moreno stepped in to interpret.

"He said, 'I am very happy to be here,' " Moreno said. "And I
am very happy to be here, too."

"This is an historic day for the Angels," general manager Bill
Stoneman said. "I'm full of anticipation for the '04 season."

Manager Mike Scioscia obviously was delighted.

"We got the number one guy out there on top of everyone's
list," Scioscia said.

The four-time All-Star received the highest average salary among
this offseason's free agents, $14 million per season. In total
dollars, Guerrero's deal was behind only the $72 million, six-year
agreement between shortstop Miguel Tejada and Baltimore.

Guerrero gets a $5 million signing bonus, $10 million this year,
$11.5 million in 2005, $12.5 million in 2006, $13.5 million in 2007
and $14.5 million in 2008, according to contract information
obtained by The Associated Press. The Angels have a $15 million
option for 2009 with a $3 million buyout.

The deal is the latest in an offseason spending spree by new
owner Arte Moreno, who purchased the Angels last year from The Walt
Disney Co.

The Angels, who struggled last season after winning the 2002
World Series, have loaded up on talent during the offseason, agreeing to deals with four high-profile free agents.

Anaheim previously agreed to a $51 million, four-year contract
with Bartolo Colon, considered the top right-handed free-agent on
the market. Reliever Kelvim Escobar got an $18.75 million,
three-year deal and outfielder Jose Guillen received a $6 million,
two-year contract.

The Angels' payroll was $79 million at the start of last season and
could top $110 million this year if they don't trade away any
high-priced players.

A .323 career hitter, Guerrero averaged 37 homers for the
Montreal Expos the past six years. He also possesses speed on the
bases and one of the game's strongest arms in right field.

Guerrero, who turns 28 next month, was on the disabled list from
June 6 to July 21 last season, missing 39 games because of a
herniated disc in his back. But he played in 62 of Montreal's final
64 games and finished the year with a .330 batting average, 25
homers and 79 RBI in 112 games.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Guerrero hadn't played in
fewer than 154 games in any full season before last year.

The Angels are expected to shift Darin Erstad from the outfield
to first base, with Guerrero, Guillen and Garret Anderson providing
a trio of power hitters in the outfield.

Guerrero speaks little English, but he will join a team with a
Spanish-speaking owner and manager, Mike Scioscia. The Angels have
several other Dominicans on the team, including Colon, Guillen,
pitcher Ramon Ortiz and coach Alfredo Griffin.

Moreno, a fourth-generation American, worked in his parent's
print shop in Tucson, Ariz., as a youth and went on to make a
fortune in outdoor advertising. He's the first major league
controlling owner of Hispanic background.

He said when he bought the Angels that he obviously wanted to
reach out to the Mexican-American community in Southern California,
"but also to everybody."

The Angels were believed to have entered the bidding for
Guerrero only late last week.

On Saturday, Guerrero turned down a three-year offer from the
New York Mets that could have been worth $71 million over five

The Baltimore Orioles also pursued him and offered at least $65
million over five years.