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Archive for Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Martinez picks Mets over Boston

Pedro headed to Big Apple with four-year deal; Brewers acquire Lee from White Sox

December 14, 2004

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— Pedro Martinez picked the New York Mets over the Boston Red Sox, and the Chicago White Sox dealt Carlos Lee to Milwaukee for Scott Podsednik and a reliever on Monday as baseball's annual winter meetings finished with many top players still searching for teams.

There were just five trades and seven free-agent signings finalized during the four-day session, but several teams struck preliminary agreements with free agents that will be completed later this week.

Richie Sexson and Seattle appeared to be working their way toward a deal, but the first baseman's agent said Baltimore was still in the hunt. The agent for Carlos Delgado, another first baseman, held talks with the Yankees.

Four free-agent agreements were announced, topped by catcher Mike Matheny's $10.5 million, three-year agreement with San Francisco. Right-hander Esteban Yan agreed to a $2.25 million, two-year contract with Anaheim, right-hander Todd Jones finalized a $1.1 million, one-year deal with Florida and outfielder Wil Cordero got a $600,000, one-year contract from the Washington-bound Expos, who also agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds.

In an agreement awaiting a physical, second baseman Jose Hernandez agreed to a $1.8 million, one-year contract with Cleveland. Late Sunday night, the Toronto Blue Jays and free-agent third baseman Corey Koskie reached agreement on a $17 million, three-year contract.

As teams headed home, many top free agents remained on the market, including Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, Magglio Ordonez, Derek Lowe, Eric Milton, Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrera, J.D. Drew, Edgar Renteria and Moises Alou.

Making the biggest splash of the meetings, Martinez closed in on a four-year deal with the Mets.

"He was a great member of the Red Sox team for seven years, and a certain Hall of Famer," Boston president Larry Lucchino said.

Martinez's agent, Fernando Cuza, told the Mets he will attempt to work out a deal with them after New York guaranteed a fourth year.

Mets general manager Omar Minaya expressed confidence about the negotiations with Martinez, but wouldn't detail the discussions.

Martinez, 33, must pass a physical before the Mets complete the deal.

A Seattle executive told an agent that the Mariners thought they were close to agreement on a three-year contract with Sexson. An official of another team that had sought the first baseman said the deal being discussed averaged about $11 million.

Sexson's agent, Casey Close, said that Seattle and Baltimore were still competing for Sexson.

"Nothing is conclusive at this moment," Close said.

The Brewers acquired Lee for Podsednik, right-hander Luis Vizcaino and a player to be named.

Lee hit .305 with 31 homers and 99 RBIs last season and gives the Brewers a right-handed slugger to complement Geoff Jenkins and Lyle Overbay, both left-handed hitters.

After finishing runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year in 2003, Podsednik hit .244 with 12 homers, 85 runs, 39 RBIs and a major league-high 70 steals last season. Vizcaino went 4-4 with a 3.75 ERA and one save in 73 relief appearances. Lee will make $8 million next year.

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