Delgado says he is staying in Toronto

Updated: July 17, 2004, 12:26 AM ET
Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Carlos Delgado said Friday that he won't waive his no-trade clause, preferring instead to stay in Toronto to finish the final year of his $64 million contract.

Carlos Delgado
First Base
Toronto Blue Jays
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R SB AVG
55 10 36 31 0 .223

General manager J.P. Ricciardi asked Delgado last week if he would be willing to be traded. The slugger gave his answer before the Blue Jays played at Texas to open the second half of their season.

"When I walked out of that office (Saturday), I said I was going to think about it, go home to talk to my family and my agent. That's what I did," Delgado said. "This is where I wanted to be. So this is the decision that I made."

Delgado is eligible for free agency this fall, and is earning $18.5 million this season to end a four-year deal.

Just before taking his first cuts during pregame batting practice Friday, Delgado spoke briefly with Ricciardi on the field.

"He's earned the right to have that in his contract," Ricciardi said. "We honor it and he's declined to waive his no-trade clause. That closes the book, unless he comes to me."

Ricciardi said the team will probably have a payroll of $50 million next season, the same as this season. He would like to use the money Delgado makes on a number of players.

Delgado's status past this season wasn't discussed.

"I would say I'm open to suggestions," said Delgado, who spent the All-Star break home in Puerto Rico. "If they want to come talk to me, I'll talk to them. We'll cross that bridge when we get there."

With two weeks until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Delgado left open only a slim possibility of making a move.

"I don't want to get ahead of myself. If anything happens that I have to take into consideration, I will take it into consideration," Delgado said. "But as of right now, it's book closed and I will not talk about it anymore. There's nothing else to talk about."

Ricciardi said that, aside from some informal inquiries, he's had no conversations with other teams about Delgado.

Delgado, the franchise leader in home runs and RBIs, was second in AL MVP voting last year after hitting .302 with 42 homers and a major league-leading 145 RBIs. He has spent all 11 of his major league seasons with Toronto, the team he signed with as a 16-year-old free agent in 1988.

After going 0-4 in Toronto's 11-2 loss to the Rangers on Friday night, Delgado is hitting .218 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs. Delgado was activated from the disabled list on July 6 after missing 33 games with a strained rib cage. .

The Blue Jays expected to contend for a playoff spot this season, but they've struggled with injuries and an unproductive offense and bullpen. They are now 39-50.

Delgado said he was glad to have the trade issue settled, and hoped to put the focus back on playing.

"It is a distraction, and it is unfortunate that it got blown out of proportion when a lot of people listened to a lot of people that had nothing to do with it, and at the end of the day, I had the last word," Delgado said.

"A lot of speculation is not good in the clubhouse. Opening the second half, we want to be in a position where we only have to worry about playing baseball, go out and play baseball and finish strong."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press