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Cirillo Negotiating With Rockies

June 16, 2000

DENVER (AP) _ The Colorado Rockies are moving deliberately as they attempt to sign third baseman Jeff Cirillo to a long-term contract extension.

Despite a report that said Cirillo and the Rockies are on the verge of a deal, Colorado assistant general manager Josh Byrnes said Thursday that an agreement is not imminent.

``I don’t think we are close, but obviously the desire is there on both sides,″ Byrnes said. ``Length of the contract is an issue. He has made it clear that he doesn’t want this contract thing hanging over his head, but we also don’t want to rush into a deal of this magnitude.″

Cirillo, acquired from Milwaukee in a four-team, nine-player trade in December, is under contract through 2001 but has the option of demanding a deal after the World Series because he was traded during a multiyear contract. Colorado would have until March 15, 2001, to make a deal, or would risk Cirillo opting to become a free agent on that date.

Hitting .323 with four homers and 39 RBIs, Cirillo is scheduled to make $3.6 million this year and $4.5 million in 2001. He reportedly is seeking a deal that would pay him $7 million annually.

Cirillo’s agent Rick Thurmond did not return telephone messages Thursday, and Cirillo has said he will not discuss negotiations until something is finalized.

It is believed that Cirillo wants a five-year deal, while the Rockies are offering four years with a club option in 2006.

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