Batista signs 2-year, $15M deal with Fukuoka

Updated: January 11, 2005, 9:05 AM ET
Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Third baseman Tony Batista will play in Japan next season after hitting 32 homers and knocking in 110 runs with the Montreal Expos last year.

Tony Batista
Third Base
Washington Nationals
157 32 110 76 14 .241

The free agent said Sunday the Fukuoka Hawks will pay him $15 million for two years -- a $5 million signing bonus in addition to $5 million in each of the next two seasons.

"The Japanese gave me a good offer, but it was also really the only offer that I got," the two-time All-Star told The Associated Press.

The team also signed utilityman Jolbert Cabrera.

Batista said he signed the deal last week in Miami. Fukuoka has not confirmed the deal although it was announced by Batista and his agents. The 31-year-old Dominican said he will travel to Japan at the end of the month.

Batista said Tampa Bay, Houston and Detroit showed interest in signing him but none came close to matching Fukuoka's offer.

For his career, Batista has a .251 average, 214 homers and 681 RBI. He has spent nine seasons in the majors with Oakland, Arizona, Toronto, Baltimore and Montreal.

32-year-old Cabrera, released by Seattle last week, hit .270 with 47 RBIs in 113 games for the Mariners last season. He also played seven positions.

The Hawks, three-time Japan Series champion, were sold by troubled retailer Daiei Inc. to Japanese Internet service provider Softbank Corp. for $48.5 million in November.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press