In Sports from United Press International

Dec. 19, 2001 at 8:00 PM
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Cubs sign Moises Alou

CHICAGO, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The Chicago Cubs added another run-producer to the middle of their lineup and filled an outfield void today, agreeing to terms with free agent Moises Alou on a three-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Chicago Tribune reported the deal is worth $27 million.

The contract includes a mutual option for 2005. If the team declines the option, Alou receives a $3 million buyout, according to the newspaper.

It was a busy day for the Cubs, who also traded outfielder Michael Tucker to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named.

Alou, 35, fills the vacancy created by the departure of left fielder Rondell White, who signed a two-year, $10 million contract Monday with the New York Yankees. Alou also should team with midseason acquisition Fred McGriff to take some of the offensive pressure off slugger Sammy Sosa.

Alou spent the last four years with the Houston Astros and was third in the National League in batting last season, when he hit .331 with 27 home runs and 108 RBI in 136 games. His .424 clip against lefthanded pitching was tops in the NL.

Report: Boone accepts Mariners offer

SEATTLE, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Free agent second baseman Bret Boone apparently will spend at least one more year with the Seattle Mariners.

ESPN reported today that Boone, who enjoyed his best season in the major leagues in 2001, has accepted an arbitration offer from the Mariners.

Today is the deadline for eligible players to accept or decline arbitration. By accepting the offer, Boone guarantees he will be under contract with Seattle next year.

If a player declines arbitration, his current team can still negotiate with him until Jan. 8.

Various reports said Boone turned down a three-year, $25 million offer from the Mariners, although he still wants to play there.

The 32-year-old Boone increased his market value this season by hitting .331 with 37 homers, 141 RBI and 118 runs scored. He is a lifetime .265 hitter over 10 major league seasons.

Dave Burba joins Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The Texas Rangers, attempting to improve a pitching staff that was the worst in baseball last season, today signed free agent Dave Burba to a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed for Burba, who rejoins Rangers general manager John Hart in Texas.

A durable righthander, Burba was just 10-10 with a 6.21 ERA in 32 games for the Cleveland Indians last season. He finishing tied for eighth in the American League in runs (112) and earned runs allowed (104) while allowing opponents to hit .305.

The 35-year-old Burba won 15, 15 and 16 games in his first three seasons with the Indians after coming over in a trade from the Cincinnati Reds. He started at least 32 games each year but his ERA was over 4.00 in each of those seasons.

The Rangers finished last in the major leagues with a 5.71 ERA last year. Texas was looking for a starter to replace Darren Oliver, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Carl Everett.

Burba has pitched over 1,500 innings in a career spent with the Indians, Reds (1995-97), Seattle Mariners (1990-91) and San Francisco Giants (1992-95). He owns a career record of 105-80.

Burba is the second former player from the Indians to join the Rangers in as many days. Hart, who spent 10 seasons as general manager of the Indians before landing in Texas this year, announced Tuesday the team had acquired reliever John Rocker for minor league pitcher David Elder.

Mets sign Benny Agbayani

NEW YORK, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The New York Mets today agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Benny Agbayani and also signed pinch-hitting specialist Mark Johnson and lefthander Bobby Jones to minor league contracts.

Agbayani, who was eligible for salary arbitration, will make $600,000 in 2002 and can earn an additional $350,000 in incentives based on plate appearances.

The Hawaiian native, who turns 30 on Dec. 28, played in only 91 games during an injury-plagued 2001 season, batting .277 with six homers and 27 RBI.

Agbayani was on the disabled list from April 9-25 with a chip fracture in his left wrist. He also fractured a bone in his right hand while swinging against Florida on Sept. 1 and missed the rest of the season.

Johnson, 35, led all major leaguers in pinch hits last season, going 11-for-27 (.407) off the bench. Overall, he batted .254 with six homers and 23 RBI in 64 contests for the Mets.

Jones, 29, spent the entire 2001 campaign on the disabled list with a variety of injuries. He began the year on the DL with tendinitis, then strained his right knee during a rehabilitation assignment at Class A St. Lucie on May 26.

Johnson and Jones received an invitation to spring training.

Frerotte goes on IR

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- With their playoff hopes already in serious jeopardy, the Denver Broncos today placed backup quarterback Gus Frerotte and defensive end Kavika Pittman on season-ending injured reserve.

Frerotte suffered a third-degree right shoulder separation after being tackled on a four-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of Sunday's 26-23 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Pittman tore a left calf muscle against the Chiefs and is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks. Both injuries were worse than originally believed.

Frerotte started in place of Brian Griese, who was sidelined after suffering a concussion two weeks ago against the Seattle Seahawks.

The injury to Frerotte placed the Broncos' offense in the hands of second-year quarterback Jarious Jackson.

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