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Wright, Mets agree to $138M deal; Hanson traded
David Wright agreed to the richest contract in Mets history Friday and Tommy Hanson was traded to the Angels on a busy day in baseball when dozens of players were dumped by their teams.
Houston scooped up Philip Humber, hoping he’s a perfect fit, and Mariano Rivera returned for another season with the Yankees. He’ll be throwing to a new catcher, though, after Russell Martin completed his $17 million, two-year deal with Pittsburgh.
Jair Jurrjens, Mark Reynolds, Mike Pelfrey and Jack Hannahan were among the most notable names set to become free agents Saturday after their former clubs declined to offer them contracts for next season. Teams had until midnight EST on Friday to make 2013 offers to unsigned players on 40-man rosters.
Wright and the Mets settled on a $138 million, eight-year deal, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The agreement replaces the All-Star third baseman’s $16 million salary for next season and includes $122 million in new money, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized.
Some of the money in Wright’s deal will be deferred.
A homegrown fan favorite, Wright is the club’s career leader in several major offensive categories, including hits, RBIs, runs and walks. He turns 30 on Dec. 20 and would have been eligible for free agency after next season.
Wright plans to attend teammate Daniel Murphy’s wedding in Jacksonville, Fla., this weekend, then travel to New York for a physical. His big deal probably will be announced at next week’s winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., the person said.
Atlanta shipped Hanson to the Los Angeles Angels for former closer Jordan Walden, clearing a spot in the Braves’ rotation for Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado or another young starter.
Hanson’s velocity decreased as he battled rotator cuff tendinitis in 2011 and a lower back strain in 2012. But the 26-year-old right-hander was 45-32 with a 3.61 ERA in 108 starts over four big league seasons with the Braves.
“It’s a good risk on a pitcher we really believe in,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said.
Walden had 32 saves in 2011, making the All-Star team as a rookie, but lost his closer’s role to Ernesto Frieri this year and finished 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA. He became expendable when the Angels agreed this week to a $3.5 million, one-year contract with reliever Ryan Madson.
Walden gives Atlanta another hard-thrower for its bullpen to help set up dominant closer Craig Kimbrel. His fastball has been clocked at close to 100 mph, and he had 48 strikeouts in 39 innings last season.
“We’ve been focused on adding a power arm to our bullpen all offseason,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “We felt if we added one power arm we would have a bullpen that would stack up with the best bullpens in our league. Jordan Walden has closing experience and the kind of arm that will stack up well in a seventh- and eighth-inning role for us.”
The ninth inning in New York belongs to Rivera, who accepted a cut in guaranteed money when he finalized a $10 million, one-year contract after missing most of the season with a knee injury.
The career saves leader, who turned 43 on Thursday, took a cut from his $30 million deal that covered the last two years _ but he can earn additional money in award bonuses.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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