Outfielder Stairs gets one-year deal

Originally Published: December 9, 2003
ESPN.com news services

Kansas City Royals: Free-agent catcher Benito Santiago agreed to a two-year, $4.3 million contract, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports.

The former San Francisco Giant will make another $1.1 million a year if he gets into 150 games, according to Stark, and Santiago could earn another $300,000 for 550 plate appearances.

Free-agent outfielder Matt Stairs also agreed to a contract with the Royals -- $1 million for one year.

Stairs, 35, batted .292 for Pittsburgh last season with 20 homers, including a 461-foot drive on April 5, the longest at the Houston Astros' new ballpark. He had 57 RBI.

Stairs has played for six other teams during his 11-year career. He is expected to fill a void created by the departure of outfielder Raul Ibanez, who agreed to a $13.25 million, three-year contract with Seattle.

In addition to his base salary, Stairs would get a $100,000 bonus if he has 375 plate appearances.

Also Tuesday, the team signed reliever Scott Sullivan to a two-year deal, plus a club option for a third year. Sullivan was a combined 6-0, 3.66 with the Reds and White Sox last season.

St. Louis Cardinals: The Cards got a pair of potential bench replacements Tuesday, agreeing to one-year contracts with infielder Brent Butler and first baseman-outfielder Steve Cox.

The deal for Butler, a third-round draft pick of St. Louis in 1996, pays him at an annual rate of $350,000 if he is in the major leagues and $100,000 if he's in the minors. He hit .211 in 37 games with the Rockies last year but spent most of the season with Triple-A Colorado Springs where he hit .332 in 54 games.

Butler, 25, went to the Rockies in a seven-player trade in 1999 that brought the late Darryl Kile to St. Louis.

Cox, 29, gets paid at an annual rate of $375,000 if he's in the majors and $125,000 if he's in the minors.

He was the starting first baseman for Tampa Bay in 2002, batting .254 with 16 homers, 30 doubles and 72 RBIs. His contract was sold to the Yokohama Bay Stars of Japan's Central League last December and spent much of last season on the injured list after arthroscopic knee surgery.

The left-handed hitting Cox was obtained by the Devil Rays from Oakland in the 1997 expansion draft. He was the MVP of the International League in 1999 with a .341 average, 49 doubles and 127 RBIs for Triple-A Durham.

The Cardinals need help on the bench after losing Eduardo A. Perez, who signed with the Devil Rays, and Miguel Cairo, still a free agent.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.