MLB Free Agent Roundup
Nov. 20, 1998
Todd Stottlemyre is the first major free-agent pitcher to switch teams, and St. Louis signed Eric Davis and Scott Radinsky on a busy day in the baseball offseason.
Stottlemyre, a 33-year-old right-hander who pitched for St. Louis and Texas last season, agreed Thursday to a $32 million, four-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
``With Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson, Stottlemyre is right behind those two in the free-agent market,'' Diamondbacks chief executive officer Jerry Colangelo said Thursday night in New York, where he was attending NBA negotiations.
Stottlemyre went 9-9 with a 3.51 ERA in 23 starts for St. Louis before he was traded to Texas on July 31 along with infielder Royce Clayton for pitcher Darren Oliver and third baseman Fernando Tatis. He then went 5-4 with a 4.33 ERA in 10 starts for the Rangers.
``He was in Phoenix a few days ago with his agent,'' Colangelo said. ``I think he liked what he saw. It was a good fit.''
Colangelo said the team is still pursuing Randy Johnson, who intends to visit this weekend with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Anaheim Angels, and Bernie Williams, whose agent met Thursday with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
``We're negotiating in good faith,'' said Williams' agent, Scott Boras. ``We found some common ground in some areas. We're continuing the dialogue.''
Boras didn't want to comment on reports the Yankees offered a $60 million, five-year contract, but insisted Williams has several seven-year proposals to choose from.
Meanwhile, San Diego owner John Moores and general manager Kevin Towers planned to meet with Boras in Atlanta today in an attempt to re-sign pitcher Kevin Brown, who helped lead the Padres to the World Series for the first time since 1984.
And the Baltimore Orioles planned to give Brian Jordan, who met earlier this week with the New York Yankees and Mets, a tour of Camden Yards. The Atlanta Braves remain the leading contender to sign Jordan.
In a trade, Ron Gant went to the Phillies along with reliever Jeff Brantley and starter Cliff Politte for reliever Ricky Bottalico, right-hander and Garrett Stephenson. As part of the deal, the Cardinals will give Philadelphia in excess of $5 million.
``We think that in our ballpark and in our lineup, he's a guy who can give us 30-plus homers,'' Phillies general manager Ed Wade said. ``He's still a guy who can turn on a fastball and produce a lot of runs for us.''
St. Louis then signed Davis to an $8 million, two-year contract and Radinsky, a left-handed reliever, to a $5.5 million, two-year deal.
``What this does is change the whole makeup of the club, and that's something we felt was very important after the last couple of years,'' general manager Walt Jocketty said.
The Cardinals, favorites to win the NL Central each of the past two years, finished well short of the playoffs both times, even with Mark McGwire's 70 home runs in 1998.
Davis, who hit .327 with 28 homers and 89 RBIs for Baltimore last season and made $2.5 million, is expected to replace Gant in left field. Davis, 36, will earn $3.5 million in 1999 and $4.5 million in 2000.
Radinsky, 6-6 with 13 saves and a 2.63 ERA for Los Angeles, gets $2.5 million in each of the next two seasons with a $2.5 million team option for 2001 and a $500,000 buyout. Radinsky, 30, earned $900,000 for the Dodgers this season.
Johnson, wanted back by Houston and interested in signing with Arizona, also has been talking with the Texas Rangers. An agent for another player, speaking on the condition he not be identified, said Texas offered Johnson a three-year contract worth about $39 million.
Meanwhile, a source close to Mo Vaughn disputed a report Vaughn was close to agreement on an $80 million, six-year contract with Anaheim.
``There is nothing imminent,'' the source said, speaking on the condition he not be identified.