|Tejada traded to Houston, Rowand joins Giants on busy day before Mitchell report|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 12 December 2007 16:54|
Andruw Jones, Jake Peavy, Andy Pettitte and Kosuke Fukudome also were in the news, completing deals that had been agreed to earlier. Slugging second baseman Jeff Kent confirmed he'll return to play a fourth season for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tejada was shipped from Baltimore to the Astros for a package of five players, giving the former AL MVP a fresh start on a team looking to improve its lineup.
The Orioles received outfielder Luke Scott, pitchers Matt Albers, Troy Patton and Dennis Sarfate, and third baseman Michael Costanzo for the four-time All-Star shortstop.
``I'm very happy, very happy. It's the biggest gift Santa Claus will give me,'' Tejada said on a conference call.
Two winters ago, Tejada caused a stir in Baltimore when he said he was unhappy with the Orioles' direction and wanted to be traded. He later backed off that stance, but acknowledged Wednesday that all the trade rumors were distracting.
``I didn't know where I would be next month. Now my mind is fresh. Now I'm really relaxed and ready to go,'' he said.
The 2002 AL MVP with Oakland is owed $13 million in each of the next two years, the final seasons of a $72 million, six-year contract. Reports had the Astros pursuing him for some time.
``This is a big day for us. We got a big bat,'' new general manager Ed Wade said. ``The reality is when you are talking about a player of this magnitude, you have to go in with every expectation that the asking price is going to be very high and if you want to participate, it's going to be tough.''
Rowand agreed to a $60 million, five-year contract with San Francisco, giving the club a Gold Glove center fielder without having to trade young pitchers Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum.
``With this move, we will no longer listen to any offers for Cain and Lincecum,'' Giants GM Brian Sabean said. ``We know the value of both individuals, believe me, maybe more so now that we've gone through this exercise. They might be the hottest two names in baseball.''
The 30-year-old Rowand is expected to bat fifth for the Giants after spending the past two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. Before that, he helped the Chicago White Sox win the 2005 World Series.
``I wanted to get in a spot where I would be long term,'' said Rowand, who noted he weighed four or five similar multiyear offers. ``In this day of free agency, that's not commonplace.''
Jones finalized his $36.2 million, two-year contract with the Dodgers and was introduced at a news conference. The former Atlanta star, coming off a poor season, has won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves in center field and joins Kent in a lineup that Los Angeles hopes will have more punch next season.
``I'll bounce back. I never had a bad year like I had this year,'' Jones said. ``I'm really happy the Dodgers gave me this opportunity.''
Kent's agent, Jeffrey Klein, said in an e-mail that his client had advised Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti that he intends to play next year. Kent, a five-time All-Star who turns 40 in March, is baseball's career leader in home runs by a second baseman. He batted .302 with a team-leading 20 homers and 79 RBIs this season despite being slowed by a strained hamstring in the second half.
``I never thought there was any doubt he was coming back,'' Colletti said.
Now, the Dodgers can turn their attention to adding a starting pitcher. Colletti wants to land Japanese free agent Hiroki Kuroda.
``We've had conversations,'' Colletti said, acknowledging an offer has been made but refusing to elaborate. ``I would love to meet with him as soon as I can.''
Fukudome, another Japanese star, reached a preliminary agreement with the Chicago Cubs on a $48 million, four-year deal to become their right fielder. The NL Central champions, seeking their first World Series title since 1908, had been looking for a left-handed bat.
``He's been our target acquisition from Day 1,'' Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. ``He changes the dynamic of our club.''
Peavy signed a $52 million, three-year contract extension with San Diego, the biggest deal in Padres history. It was completed just less than a month after the right-hander won the NL Cy Young Award in a unanimous vote.
Peavy, who put off a chance to try free agency in a couple of years, is now signed through 2012. The club holds a $22 million option for 2013 with a $4 million buyout. Whether he's taking the so-called San Diego discount is up for debate.
``This contract is not about money to me,'' Peavy said. ``I think it's a fair deal for everybody. I didn't want to do the other players around the league any kind of injustice.''
While the Padres continue to shop for outfielders, they've agreed to terms with free-agent second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, pending a physical scheduled for Monday.
Pettitte and the Yankees agreed to a $16 million, one-year contract. The move was a formality after the 35-year-old left-hander decided to pitch for New York rather than retire, then accepted the team's offer of salary arbitration.
In other moves, utility infielder Chris Gomez and Pittsburgh agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract. Milwaukee reached one-year deals with relievers Seth McClung ($750,000) and Greg Aquino ($500,000), and catcher Mike Rivera ($395,000).
Left-hander Tim Byrdak ($712,500) and the Detroit Tigers avoided salary arbitration. Washington agreed to 2008 contracts with right-handers John Patterson, Luis Ayala and Ryan Wagner, also avoiding arbitration.
Teams had until midnight EST Wednesday to offer contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters. Outfielder Emil Brown (Kansas City), pitcher Chad Durbin (Detroit), outfielder Jason Tyner (Minnesota), pitcher Mark Hendrickson (Dodgers) and infielder Dallas McPherson (Angels) were among those not offered deals, making them free agents.
Associated Press Writer Juan A. Lozano, AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum and AP Sports Writers Rick Gano, Janie McCauley, John Nadel and Bernie Wilson contributed to this report.