Pavano signs for just under $40M

New York Yankees: Right-hander Carl Pavano and the Yankees finalized their $39.95 million, four-year contract on Wednesday.

Pavano, who turns 29 on Jan. 8, was among the most sought-after
free-agent pitchers. He told his agent, Scott Shapiro, on Dec. 11
to work out a contract with the Yankees.

"I know the team I'm going to have behind me is going to be
competitive every year," Pavano said.

He joins holdovers Mike Mussina and Kevin Brown on a rebuilt
Yankees rotation. New York also has a preliminary agreement with
free agent Jaret Wright and is trying to acquire Randy Johnson from
Arizona in a trade that likely would send Javier Vazquez to the
Diamondbacks or another team.

Pavano was 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA for Florida last season. He has
a 57-58 career record with a 4.21 ERA in seven seasons with
Montreal and the Marlins.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox finalized a $25.5 million, three-year contract with free-agent right-hander Matt Clement, who fills a hole in a starting rotation weakened by the departure of Pedro Martinez.

Clement, who passed a physical on Tuesday, joins a rotation that also includes ace Curt Schilling, 41-year-old left-hander David Wells, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and Bronson Arroyo.

Despite a 9-13 record with the Chicago Cubs last season, Clement was sought by several teams after Martinez signed with the New York Mets, Carl Pavano signed with the New York Yankees and Tim Hudson was traded from Oakland to Atlanta.

Clement gets $6.5 million in 2005 and $9.5 million each in 2006 and 2007. His salaries in the final two seasons can increase by up to $3 million annually based on starts and innings in the prior
season, and he can earn $3 million in performance bonuses during
the final year.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Ten former Dodgers have taken minor league coaching assignments with the organization.

Among them are former Cy Young Award winner Bob Welch and catcher Steve Yeager, both a part of the 1981 Dodgers team that won the World Series. Former infielder Dave Anderson, a member of the Dodgers' last World Series champion, in 1988, also is returning.

Welch will coach pitchers for the Dodgers' rookie-level Ogden, Utah, team. Yeager will coach the Double-A Jacksonville, Fla., team and Anderson becomes the Dodger systems infield coordinator. Former Dodger Ken Howell will be Yeager's pitching coach.

Former infielder Jerry Royster will manage the Dodgers' Triple-A Las Vegas team and Mariano Duncan and Roger McDowell will be among his coaches.

John Shoemaker will manage Jacksonville.

Rick Honeycutt will be the organization's pitching coordinator and George Hendrick its hitting coordinator.

San Diego Padres: Center fielder Dave Roberts agreed to a $1.35 million, one-year contract with the Padres, a deal that allows him to earn an additional $100,000 in performance bonuses.

Roberts was acquired in a trade with the Boston Red Sox on
Monday night. He had been eligible for salary arbitration.

Roberts, who will bat leadoff for his hometown team, can earn
$50,000 each for 450 and 550 plate appearances. He made $975,000
last season.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Former Toronto and Cleveland first
baseman and designated hitter Josh Phelps agreed to a
one-year contract with the Devil Rays, who are counting
on him to add some punch to their offense.

The deal was contingent on a physical.

Phelps, 26, appeared in 103 games last season with Toronto and
Cleveland, batting .251 with 17 homers and 61 RBI. After being
acquired by the Indians on Aug 6, he hit .303 with 5 homers and 10
RBI in 24 games.

In 305 major league games, Phelps has hit 52 home runs and 186
RBI. He has nine homers and 26 RBI in 33 games against Tampa Bay,
his most against an opponent.

Phelps finished sixth in voting for AL Rookie of the Year in
2002, even though he didn't join the Blue Jays until July 2.

Last season, his .618 slugging percentage against left-handed
pitchers was fifth in the AL.

St. Louis Cardinals: Left-hander Mike Myers agreed to a $600,000, one-year contract, and the Cardinals also kept outfielder So Taguchi with a $550,000, one-year deal.

Myers started last season with Seattle, then was acquired by Boston in August. He ranked sixth in the AL with 75 relief appearances and combined to go 5-1 with a 4.64 ERA. Myers, 35, has made more appearances than any other pitcher in the major leagues since 1996, his first full season.

He played in five postseason games for the Red Sox but did not appear in Boston's World Series sweep of the Cardinals.

Taguchi, 35, hit .291 with three homers and 25 RBI last season
for the Cardinals, who allowed him to become a free agent Monday
when they failed to offer a 2005 contract. He made $1 million last
season, and the move allowed St. Louis to get around baseball's
maximum cut rule.

Washington Nationals: Brian Schneider agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract with the Washington-bound Expos as the team avoided going to salary arbitration with one of the top defensive catchers in the league.

Schneider hit .257 and had career-highs with 12 home runs and 49 RBI last season, his first as the club's regular catcher. He has had the major leagues' top percentage in throwing out would-be
base-stealers for two straight years: 46.7 percent in 2003 and 47.8
percent in 2004.

Schneider also went 167 games without an error, a streak that ended Sept. 7 against the Chicago Cubs.

The 28-year-old is a career .252 hitter with 27 home runs and 141 RBI in 388 games spanning parts of five seasons with the
Montreal Expos, who will become the Washington Nationals after
Mayor Anthony A. Willliams signs the stadium financing legislation
approved Tuesday by the District of Columbia Council.

Schneider's signing leaves four abitration-eligible players on the team's roster: outfielder Brad Wilkerson, first baseman Nick Johnson, and pitchers Tony Armas Jr. and Tomo Ohka.

New York Mets: Right-hander Orber Moreno agreed to a minor league contract with the Mets, who cut him from the major league roster two days earlier.

Moreno was 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA last season before he went on the disabled list July 25 with a strained right shoulder, an injury
that ended his season. He had arthroscopic shoulder surgery in

He would get a $500,000, one-year contract if he is added to the major league roster. His contract last season paid him $317,500 in the major leagues and $61,000 in the minors.

Cleveland Indians: Billy Traber came back to the Indians, who re-signed the left-hander to a minor league contract for 2005 one month after they waived him.

Traber, who did not pitch last season following elbow surgery, became a free agent when Boston did not offer him a contract earlier this week. The Red Sox claimed him off waivers on Nov. 10 from the Indians, who didn't have a spot for him on their 40-man roster.

The 25-year-old Traber went 6-9 during his rookie season in 2003, pitching a one-hitter against the New York Yankees. The Indians acquired him from the New York Mets in 2001 in the Roberto Alomar trade.

Cleveland also agreed to a minor league deal with right-hander
Jason Bere, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2003, when he was
limited to two starts with the Indians before shoulder surgery.

Florida Marlins: Right-hander reliever John Riedling reached a preliminary agreement on a $750,000, one-year contract. The deal, which also includes up to $100,000 in performance bonuses, is contingent on Riedling -- a South Florida native -- passing a physical.

Riedling appeared in 70 games last season for Cincinnati, going 5-3
with a 5.10 ERA. He became a free agent when the Reds failed to
offer a 2005 contract by Monday's deadline.

Riedling endured an up-and-down 2004 season with the Reds, going
4-2 with a 3.80 ERA before the All-Star break and 1-1 with a 7.12
ERA afterward -- troubles the Reds believed were brought on in large
part by the August death of Riedling's father.

Minimum salary on the up: The minimum salary for major league players will rise to $316,000 from $300,000 next year. The amount of the increase was based on the Consumer Price Index and was agreed to by the commissioner's office and the players' association. The minimum minor league salary for players on 40-man rosters for at least the second year or with at least one day of major league service will increase from $50,000 to $52,600.

Baseball's labor contract called for the minimum to rise at the
same rate as the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index-Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers from November 2002 through November 2004. The deal calls for another cost-of-living adjustment in 2006.