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Marlins Cut Beckett’s Salary 12.5 Percent

March 3, 2004

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) _ Josh Beckett’s reward for a season capped by the World Series MVP award was a 12.5 percent pay cut.

The Florida Marlins renewed the pitcher’s contract Tuesday for $1,509,375, the lowest the team could offer under the collective bargaining agreement. Last year he made $1,725,000.

``Josh understands it’s business and is simply looking forward to playing baseball and having a great season,″ said his agent, Mike Moye.

Beckett has been well-compensated since signing with the Marlins out of high school after they made him the second pick in the 1999 amateur draft. He received a $3,625,000, and his salary last season was the highest or a player with less than two years of major league experience.

Despite the pay cut this season, he’ll be among the highest-paid players with less than three years’ experience.

``His contract situation was not unusual, given that he signed a major-league contract out of high school and was a non-arbitration-eligible player,″ Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest said.

Beckett becomes eligible for arbitration after this season. He went 9-8 in 2003 and spent nearly two months on the disabled list with a sprained elbow, but he pitched two postseason shutouts, including the final game of the World Series to beat the New York Yankees.

Left-hander Dontrelle Willis, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, was renewed at $353,500 by the Marlins ($188,891 if he’s sent to the minor leagues). Right fielder Miguel Cabrera was renewed at $320,000 ($135,744 if he’s sent to the minors).

With those deals, all Florida players are under contract.

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