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A's get right-handed bat desired

2/2/2004

Oakland Athletics: Free-agent
infielder Eric Karros agreed Monday on a $1.05 million, one-year contract with a club option for 2005.

Karros gets a $550,000 salary this year and the chance to earn
$600,000 in performance bonuses: $40,000 for 75 games and each
additional five games through 145.

Oakland has a $1.5 million option for 2005 with a $500,000
buyout.

To make room on the roster, the A's designated left-hander Mario Ramos for assignment.

Oakland general manager Billy Beane had been looking to add a
strong right-handed bat to his revamped roster. Oakland has added
catcher Damian Miller, outfielders Bobby Kielty and Mark Kotsay,
pitchers Mark Redman, Chris Hammond and Arthur Rhodes.

Last season, the 36-year-old Karros batted .286 with 12 homers
and 40 RBI for the Chicago Cubs after playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers the previous 12 years.

He made 84 starts at first base for Chicago, which lost to World
Series champion Florida in the NL championship series.

Karros has five seasons with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs and had
his best all-around season in 1999, when he hit .304 with 34 homers
and 112 RBI, all career highs.

Ramos was claimed on waivers from the Texas Rangers on Nov. 19
and spent most of last season in the minors. He went 1-1 with a
6.23 ERA in three starts for Texas in his major league debut.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins avoided salary
arbitration with left-handed reliever J.C. Romero by agreeing
Monday to an $820,000, one-year contract.

Romero, 27, struggled last season after being one of Minnesota's
best pitchers in 2002, when he established career-highs in wins
(nine), earned run average (1.91), appearances (81), innings
pitched (81) and strikeouts (76).

Last season, he was 2-0 with a 5.00 ERA in 73 appearances. He
had 50 strikeouts and walked 42 batters. Romero has a career record
of 14-13 with a 4.76 ERA and 219 strikeouts.

This year, he'll be counted on to help lead a bullpen that lost
All-Star closer Eddie Guardado and ace setup man LaTroy Hawkins.

Romero, who made $325,000 last season, had asked for $925,000
after filing for salary arbitration and the Twins had offered
$625,000. In addition to his salary, he would get a $5,000 bonus
for appearing in 70 games.

Left-hander Johan Santana or first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz
remain scheduled for hearings.

Florida Marlins: Outfielder Wil Cordero
agreed to terms Monday on a $600,000, one-year contract.

Cordero, 32, must pass a physical for the deal to become final,
which could happen as early as Tuesday. He would be able to earn an
additional $200,000 in performance bonuses.

Marlins GM Larry Beinfest said last week the team
wants Cordero to provide veteran leadership off the bench and liked
his right-handed power.

He hit .278 in 130 games last season for Montreal with 16 home
runs and 71 RBI. Over his 12-year major league career, Cordero is
a .276 hitter with 121 home runs and 558 RBI.

Cordero's acquisition would be another entry on a long list of
offseason moves by the World Series champions, who chose not to
sign catcher Ivan Rodriguez and closers Braden Looper and Ugueth
Urbina, while trading away first baseman Derrek Lee, left-handed
starter Mark Redman and outfielder Juan Encarnacion.

The Marlins got first baseman Hee Seop Choi in the deal that
sent Lee to the Cubs, and Cordero could provide an insurance policy
if Choi does not progress as Florida hopes. They also signed
Armando Benitez to replace Looper and Urbina, and also signed
left-hander Darren Oliver to bolster their rotation.

Montreal Expos: Right-hander Pat Mahomes
agreed Monday to a minor league contract.

Mahomes, 33, would get a $350,000, one-year contract if he's
added to the major league roster.

He was 0-1 with a 4.84 ERA in one start and eight relief
appearances last season with Pittsburgh, and 8-4 with a 2.67 ERA
two saves in 38 games with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.

Mahomes has a 42-39 record with a 5.47 ERA and five saves in 11
major league seasons with Minnesota, Boston, the New York Mets, Texas, the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh.