Dallas Manny Ramirez went for the money.
The power-hitting outfielder reached a preliminary agreement Monday night on a $160 million, eight-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, according to a high-ranking baseball official familiar with the negotiations.
Ramirez turned down a $136 million, eight-year offer from the Cleveland Indians, according to a source with knowledge of that team's offer, also speaking on the condition of anonymity.
His agent, Jeff Moorad, said earlier in the evening that all things being equal, his client would sign with Cleveland.
News of the agreement with the Red Sox was first reported by The Boston Globe.
The deal, which the official said probably would be announced yoday, contains about $30 million in deferred payments.
Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette and Moorad could not immediately be reached for comment.
"We've done what we can do," said Indians general manager John Hart, who would not confirm his team's offer. "Maybe even beyond what we should do. We hope Manny takes this offer. But if he doesn't, we have a lot to be proud of because we feel our owner really stepped up."
The Indians sent Dr. Louis Keppler to Florida to give Ramirez a physical, according to the source. Charlie Manuel and teammates Travis Fryman and Jim Thome also called Ramirez within the last day to try to convince him to stay.
Ramirez, 28, hit .351 last season with 38 homers and 122 RBIs in 439 at-bats.
Two years ago, Boston also tried to sign a run-producing outfielder. But all the Red Sox wound up doing was raising the price for the New York Yankees to re-sign Bernie Williams, who stayed home for an $87.5 million, seven-year contract.
Also, Houston and Detroit completed a six-player deal with Roger Cedeno going to the Tigers and Brad Ausmus heading back to the Astros.
Detroit also acquired catcher Mitch Meluskey and right-hander Chris Holt. The Tigers sent relievers Doug Brocail and Nelson Cruz to Houston.
Ausmus, 31, was traded by the Astros to Detroit in a seven-player deal following the 1998 season. He spent two years in Houston. He is known as one of the top defensive catchers in the game.
"Going into the offseason our priority was to improve our pitching staff," Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker said. "We feel we took significant strides to do that with this trade. Brad Ausmus helped us win two divisions in Houston. Reacquiring him adds to our pitching immediately. He is one of the best catchers in baseball."
Meluskey, 27, showed a lot of promise at the plate last season despite some deficiencies in the field. He hit .300 with 14 homers and 69 RBIs in 337 at-bats during his rookie season. The switch-hitter also had a .401 on-base percentage.
The Astros, who traded ace Mike Hampton to the New York Mets for a package that included Cedeno last December, were willing to unload the speedy outfielder because they already have Moises Alou, Richard Hidalgo and Lance Berkman.
"At the end of last season, we played Berkman more because he produced more runs," manager Larry Dierker said.
"We wanted to keep him more than Cedeno because of the way he fits with our club."
The Tigers were looking for speed to cover the spacious outfield in Comerica Park and a possible replacement if Juan Gonzalez leaves through free agency.
Cedeno, who missed nearly two months with a broken right wrist last season, hit .282 with 54 runs and 25 stolen bases in 259 at-bats for Houston. He had a .383 on-base percentage and will likely be used as a leadoff hitter in Detroit.
"We think we added two switch-hitters with high on-base percentages and potential power," Tigers general manager Randy Smith said.
"It was worth giving up what we did."
He was then traded to HousIn other news:
Dreifort completed a $55 million, five-year contract with Los Angeles.
The Mets traded outfielder Bubba Trammell to San Diego for reliever Donne Wall.
They also signed outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo to a $700,000, one-year contract, the second non-pitcher from Japan to join the majors.
Jason Bere reached a preliminary deal with the Chicago Cubs on Monday that would pay him $4.5 million for two years.
The Anaheim Angels signed right-hander Pat Rapp and outfielder Kimera Bartee one-year contracts.
Infielder Jeff Frye to a $1 million, one-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Chicago White Sox sent right-hander Mark Roberts to the Florida Marlins on Monday to complete a trade from last month.
Florida sent infielder Amaury Garcia to Chicago on Nov. 28, for a player to be named later.
Andres Galarraga was introduced to the media as a member of the Texas Rangers.
"With this team, we've got four or five guys who can hit 40 home runs."