MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Infielder Wes Helms and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed Friday to a $4.5 million, two-year contract.

Helms, 27, who had been eligible for salary arbitration, hit .261 with 23 homers and 67 RBIs last season.

``Early in the negotiations, Wes expressed his fondness for the Brewers and playing in Milwaukee,'' Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. ``The deal is an indication of what we feel about his performance last season and his future with the Brewers.''

Helms was acquired by the Brewers last December with pitcher John Foster in a trade that sent pitcher Ray King to Atlanta. He was selected by the Braves in the 10th round of the 1994 amateur draft.

Helms gets $1.8 million next season and $2.7 million in 2005.