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Pirates Sign Infielder Pat Meares

February 20, 1999

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday signed free-agent infielder Pat Meares, all but ensuring that Al Martin and Tony Womack will be traded to Arizona.

Although the Pirates did not formally disclose terms of the one-year deal, the Pirates had offered Meares a $1.5 million contract that he repeatedly spurned in hopes of landing a multiyear deal. The Pirates have said they would consider extending the contract at a later date.

The Pirates want Meares to play shortstop so they can move Mike Benjamin to his preferred position of second base and trade Womack and Martin to the Diamondbacks for outfielder Bernard Gilkey.

Meares, who drove in 70 runs last season for Minnesota, also had two other suitors: Anaheim, which offered $750,000, and Cincinnati, which offered $1 million.

The Arizona trade was contingent upon the Pirates signing Meares, who made $2.5 million with Minnesota last season but was not tendered a 1999 contract.

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