Beltran avoids arbitration with one-year deal

Updated: January 20, 2004, 9:48 PM ET
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Outfielder Carlos Beltran agreed Tuesday to a $9 million, one-year contract with the Kansas City Royals that avoided salary arbitration.

Carlos Beltran
Center Field
Kansas City Royals
141 26 100 102 41 .307

Beltran is eligible for free agency after this season and the Royals have said its unlikely they will be able to sign their star to a long-term deal before then.

Despite opening the 2003 season on the disabled list, Beltran led the team with a .307 batting average, 102 runs, 26 homers, 100 RBI, 72 walks and 41 steals. It was Beltran's fourth season with at least 100 runs and 100 RBI.

Beltran will anchor a lineup that also features two-time All-Star Mike Sweeney and two-time MVP Juan Gonzalez, who agreed to a $4.5 million, one-year deal with the Royals earlier this month.

Last month, Kansas City general manager Allard Baird said the Los Angeles Dodgers wanted to trade for Beltran, but were unable to offer anyone the Royals wanted in return for their leading offensive player.

Baird has consistently said he expects Beltran to "be the starting center fielder for the Kansas City Royals on Opening Day.''

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press