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Broussard avoids arbitration, agrees to $2.5M deal

CLEVELAND -- First baseman Ben Broussard avoided salary
arbitration on Wednesday by agreeing to terms on a one-year, $2.5
million contract with the Cleveland Indians, who still have
outfielder Coco Crisp.

Broussard is expected to platoon this season with recently
signed free agent Eduardo Perez. Last year, Broussard made $365,000
while batting .255 with a career-high 19 homers and 68 RBI in 142
games.

He had initially asked for $2.6 million in arbitration and had
been offered $2.2 million.

The Indians were somewhat disappointed in the 29-year-old's
production in 2005, one season after Broussard drove in 82 runs --
the most RBI by any AL player with less than 425 at-bats.

Broussard's base salary will be $2,487,500 this season and he
can earn an additional $25,000 each for 525 and 550 plate
appearances, although it's unlikely he'll get anywhere near that
number if he's not playing every day.

Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said Perez, 36, is likely
to play some in the outfield and get about 350 at-bats.

Meanwhile, Shapiro remained quiet about the proposed three-team
trade that would have sent Crisp to the Boston Red Sox for reliever
Guillermo Mota and third base prospect Andy Marte.


The deal appeared to dissolve Tuesday when Mota failed his physical, giving the Indians concerns about his right shoulder. Mota, who could replace Bob Howry in Cleveland's bullpen, made just one appearance after Sept. 9 because of a sore shoulder. Howry signed as a free agent with the
Chicago White Sox this winter.

ESPN.com's Jayson stark reported Wednesday that the Red Sox and Indians were trying to restructure the Crisp-to-Boston deal, while the related Indians-Phillies trade of left-handed
reliever Arthur Rhodes for outfielder Jason Michaels was being described as being "in a holding pattern," according to a source involved in those discussions.

On Tuesday, a Phillies official, speaking on condition of
anonymity because no deal was ever announced, told the Associated
Press that the Phillies and Indians still could end up making a
trade.

Mota and Marte have not played for the Red Sox, having been
acquired this winter in separate deals.

Marte, one of the top prospects in Atlanta's system, went to
Boston for shortstop Edgar Renteria. But Boston needs a center
fielder to replace Johnny Damon, who signed as a free agent with
the New York Yankees.

Crisp, a fan favorite in Cleveland, batted .300 with 16 homers,
69 RBI and stole 15 bases for the Indians.

The Red Sox were also expected to include catching prospect
Kelly Shoppach in the Cleveland deal. The Indians had reportedly
agreed to send reliever David Riske and backup catcher Josh Bard to
Boston.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.