Agent hopes for decision in 'near future'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Carlos Delgado is letting the teams come to him.

Owner Tom Hicks is among a group of Texas Rangers officials
scheduled to meet with Delgado in Puerto Rico on Friday, a day
after New York Mets executives got together for a three-hour meeting with the left-handed slugger.

"From the Rangers point of view, we'll give it our best shot,"
Hicks said by telephone Wednesday from the Dominican Republic.
"He'll have other opportunities, but we stack up very well. He
likes our ballpark, he likes our young team. Hopefully, we'll have
a good meeting."

Rangers general manager John Hart and manager Buck Showalter
initially met with Delgado at the winter meetings in California
last month. Mets officials met with Delgado in Puerto Rico last
Thursday, but his agent, David Sloane, was not present at that
session. Sloane did attend the Mets' meeting this time around.

"Everything went extremely well," Sloane told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark by e-mail. "Having Jeff Wilpon join us for this meeting made it possible to discuss the issues regarding our respective proposals that we felt needed clarification.

"Due to the better understanding we now have as to the challenges making this deal presents, will certainly make it easier for us to proceed."

The Baltimore Orioles also are interested in Delgado, who had at
least 30 home runs in each of the last eight seasons in Toronto.

Right-handed reliever Carlos Almanzar, one of several Texas
players from the Dominican, agreed to a $1.1 million contract
Wednesday. He was 7-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 67 games last season.

The Rangers also signed infielder Mark DeRosa to a minor league
contract with an invitation to major league spring training. DeRosa
hit .239 in a career-high 118 games last season for Atlanta, the
team he has played all 393 of his major league games the last seven

Hicks, Hart and Showalter are in the Dominican Republic this
week as part of the organization's effort to have more presence in
the area full of prospects. They will travel together to Puerto
Rico for the meeting with Delgado before returning to Texas.

Hart avoided arbitration hearings by signing All-Star second
baseman Alfonso Soriano ($7.5 million), outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. ($1.1 million) and Almanzar to one-year contracts this week.
Hart hasn't been to arbitration with a Texas player in his three

Several teams have inquired about a trade for Soriano, but none
of the talk has been serious enough to intrigue the Rangers. Hicks
has also said he wants to keep the payroll within the same $63 million range as last season.

Still, Hart said having both Delgado and Soriano on the roster
was doable.

"We have talked around Soriano for some time. He is still a
Ranger and we fully intent to keep Soriano as a Ranger for this
year," Hart said. "I always say that with the caveat of who knows
if something else will improve our club, but our conversation with
Delgado is independent of anything we do with Soriano."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.