Marlins seal deal, trade Delgado to Mets

MIAMI -- The cost-cutting Florida Marlins finalized their
big trade with the Mets on Thursday, sending slugger Carlos Delgado
to New York for first baseman Mike Jacobs and two minor leaguers.

Just hours later, the Marlins completed the other big deal they
struck this week by shipping ace Josh Beckett, third baseman Mike
Lowell and reliever Guillermo Mota to the Boston Red Sox for four

The Mets will also receive $7 million from the Marlins to help
cover the $48 million Delgado is owed over the next three seasons.
The minor leaguers going to Florida in that deal are pitcher
Yusmeiro Petit and infielder Grant Psomas.

"One of our goals this offseason was to acquire a big bat for
the middle of our lineup," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said.
"Carlos Delgado certainly fits that description. He'll be a superb
fit for our lineup."

The Mets and Marlins reached a preliminary agreement on their
deal Wednesday, but it needed to be approved by the commissioner's
office because more than $1 million is changing hands.

"We thank Carlos Delgado for his contributions and wish him
well," Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest said. "He did a
great job for the Marlins in 2005."

The trade with Boston also was reported and confirmed by
baseball officials earlier in the week, but it wasn't finalized
until the players passed their physicals. The announcement Thursday
night included two new names: Mota is headed to the Red Sox and
minor league right-hander Harvey Garcia to Florida.

The Marlins, who won their second World Series title only two
years ago, also receive top shortstop prospect Hanley Ramirez along
with minor league pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Jesus Delgado.

Trading away Delgado, Beckett and Lowell will cut Florida's
payroll, which was $60 million at the start of last season, by
about $27 million for 2006.

The deals are reminiscent of the famous "fire sale" the
Marlins had after winning the 1997 World Series. Florida won only
54 games the following season.

But earlier this week, Marlins president David Samson denied
that Florida is following the same path as the franchise did eight
years ago, saying the trades represent a "market correction" --
and Beinfest used the same term Thursday night after the deal with
Boston was finalized.

"This is following through on the market correction and a lot
of mixed emotions," Beinfest said. "We had players who were with
us in '03 who helped us win a championship. It's a business, but
we've had a lot of history with a lot of these guys. The
recognition of what they've done is not going to be lost, but the
reality of the situation is the reality of the situation."

Frustrated they have been unable to put together financing for a
new ballpark, the Marlins said Tuesday they have received
permission from the commissioner's office to explore moving the
franchise for the 2008 season.

The team also said this week it will have a payroll that matches
revenue for 2006. Florida claims it has lost as much as $20 million
annually in recent years.

Delgado hit .301 with 33 homers and 115 RBI in his lone season
with the Marlins, reaching 30 homers for the ninth consecutive
year. The 33-year-old first baseman, who spent his first 12 major
league seasons with Toronto, has a .284 career average with 369
homers and 1,173 RBI.

He also attracted attention for protesting the U.S.-Iraq war by
refusing to stand when "God Bless America" was played at major
league ballparks.

Delgado nearly joined the Mets last season before signing a $52
million, four-year deal with Florida. But he was disenchanted with
the way the Mets recruited him a year ago, saying the team tried to
appeal to his Latin heritage too much.

Now, the two-time All-Star slides into a New York lineup that
also includes center fielder Carlos Beltran, left fielder Cliff
Floyd and third baseman David Wright. Delgado's .393 career on-base
percentage should help a team that finished tied for 12th in the NL
in that category last season at .322.

Delgado told the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia for
Friday's editions that he plans to start trying to sell his home in
Miami and start looking for a place to live in New York with his

He said his "personal guide" to New York will be Beltran, his
friend and fellow Puerto Rican native.

"For me, it's an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity
to share with such a great player," Delgado told the newspaper.
"We talked [Thursday] a couple of times and I told him I'm going
to New York and he has to tell me where to go, who is who and what
there is to do ... at some point we'll sit down and talk about all
the details.''

The 25-year-old Jacobs hit .310 with 11 home runs and 23 RBI in
only 30 games for the Mets this year. He finished eighth among NL
rookies in homers and became the first player in major league
history to hit four homers within four days of his major league

Petit, a 21-year-old right-hander, went a combined 9-6 with a
3.60 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 24 starts last season between
Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Binghamton. Psomas, 23, played 99
games with two Class-A teams, hitting a combined .301 with 20
homers and 69 RBI.

"We look forward to Yusmeiro Petit joining our stable of
outstanding young pitchers," Beinfest said. "Mike Jacobs provides
a quality left-handed bat and figures to be in the mix at first
base. Grant Psomas had an excellent year in A-ball last year and
we're glad to bring him into our organization."

While completing the Delgado deal, New York also was trying to
sign All-Star closer Billy Wagner, who completed a two-day visit on
Tuesday. The Mets offered the free agent a three-year contract
worth just more than $30 million, a deal containing an option for
2009 that could increase the package to $40 million.

Philadelphia is trying to re-sign Wagner.