- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 20, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) Barry Bonds will stay with the San Francisco Giants, deciding yesterday to accept the team's offer of salary arbitration rather than remain in an uncertain free-agent market.

Bonds, who became a free agent after hitting a record 73 home runs, could wind up with a one-year contract worth at least $20million, which would shatter the arbitration record of $8.2million set this year by Atlanta's Andruw Jones. Bonds would prefer to sign a multiyear deal.

"Barry will continue to work toward that," said his agent, Scott Boras.

Bonds, 37, faced a midnight deadline to accept the Giants' offer of salary arbitration.

Juan Gonzalez rejected Cleveland's offer of arbitration. His agent, Jeff Moorad, said negotiations likely will stretch past Christmas and that the Indians remain longshots.

"The door remains cracked open," Moorad said. "Mark Shapiro [Clevelands general manager] and I talked at some length today and agreed to stay in touch regarding Juan. At the same time, as I thought it might, ramped up this week. And we have begun to talk more specifically about other teams about what a multiyear contract for Juan might look like."

Second baseman Bret Boone also accepted arbitration from Seattle. His agent, Adam Katz, attempted to negotiate a multiyear deal during the day but the Mariners would only guarantee three years, not four.

"Negotiations are ongoing and we're still hopeful we can come to terms on a multiyear deal," Katz said.

Chan Ho Park and Johnny Damon were among the other big-name free agents who faced the deadline.

Free agents who accept are considered signed for next year. Those rejecting the offers can negotiate with their former teams through Jan. 8, about three weeks.

Bonds earned his record fourth MVP award this season, but the Giants were the only team to publicly admit making an offer to him.

"Barry had many things to consider," Boras said.

Boras, also represents Park, who was offered arbitration by Los Angeles, and Damon, who was offered arbitration by Oakland.

"We haven't made any decisions yet," Boras said about his other clients.

Four other free agents found teams, with outfielder Moises Alou agreeing to a $27million, three-year contract with the Chicago Cubs and pitcher John Burkett getting an $11million, two-year deal with Boston. Pitcher Dave Burba agreed to a $2million, one-year deal with the Texas and pitcher Dennis Cook got a $1.25million, one-year deal with Anaheim.

In addition, the Red Sox acquired second baseman Pokey Reese from Colorado for catcher Scott Hatteberg. Reese, a two-time Gold Glove, was acquired by the Rockies on Tuesday with pitcher Dennys Reyes in a deal that sent pitchers Gabe White and Luke Hudson to Cincinnati.

In another deal, the Cubs traded outfielder Michael Tucker to the Kansas City Royals.

Also, reliever John Rocker agreed to a $2.5million, one-year contract with Texas, who acquired him Tuesday from Cleveland. Right-hander Kevin Jarvis agreed to a $9million, three-year contract with San Diego and outfielder Benny Agbayani agreed to a $600,000, one-year deal with the New York Mets. All three had been eligible for salary arbitration.

Bonds had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history, breaking previous record of 70 homers, set by Mark McGwire three years ago. Bonds also had an .863 slugging percentage and 177 walks, breaking season marks held by Babe Ruth.

He became the first four-time Most Valuable Player winner and was thought to be seeking a five-year contract worth $20 million or more annually, but teams were wary because of his age and lack of success in the postseason, where he has a .196 average (19-for-97) with one homer and six RBIs.

Alou agreed to join the Cubs after numerous telephone calls from star Sammy Sosa.

"Tell Moises he's got to pay me some interest, a percentage," Sosa joked.

Alou, a career .306 hitter, will likely bat fifth, behind Sosa and Fred McGriff, giving Chicago one of the best 3-4-5 combinations in the NL. Alou led the NL in hitting for most of the season before finishing tied for third with a .331 average. He also hit 27 homers with 108 RBIs for the Astros.

"He's got a lot of talent to convince people, to sell a team," Alou said of Sosa. "Everyone in the Dominican Republic is really excited about me being a Chicago Cub and me playing with Sammy."

Alou will get $6million next season, then $9.5million each in 2003 and 2004. There's a mutual $11.5million option in 2005. The deal also includes a $2million buyout.

"We feel Moises is absolutely the perfect fit," said Jim Hendry, the Cubs' vice president of player personnel. "The good thing about this is we did not have to trade a lot of our young players in the system to acquire a quality player. We felt like we got the best player available without having to give up our kids."

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