League must approve details

Updated: January 5, 2004, 11:08 PM ET

TAMPA, Fla. -- Closer Danys Baez agreed Monday to terms of a contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, pending major league baseball's approval of language in the agreement with the former Cleveland Indians right-hander.

Baez went 2-9 with a 3.81 ERA and 25 saves in 2003. He also blew 10 saves and lost his closer's job to rookie David Riske late in the season.

The 26-year-old Baez signed a $14.5 million, four-year contract with the Indians after defecting from Cuba in 1999. He was released last month after Cleveland didn't offer him a contract for 2004.

In November, the Indians declined their $5 million option on Baez. The team sent him outright to Triple-A Buffalo, then purchased his contract and offered him a two-year proposal worth $4 million.

Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, the Indians were prohibited from cutting a player's salary by more than 20 percent. Baez made $5,125,000 this year and if the rule applied, a contract to Baez would have had to be for at least $4.1 million.

By allowing him to become a free agent, the Indians avoided a potential grievance by the players union over whether taking him off the 40-man roster in November meant he wasn't subject to the maximum cut rule.