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DeRosa cashes in on career year, to sign with Cubs

CHICAGO -- Mark DeRosa became the first major league free
agent to switch teams this offseason, agreeing Tuesday to a $13
million, three-year contract with the Chicago Cubs.

A nine-year veteran, he is expected to be the Cubs' everyday
second baseman next season. The 31-year-old DeRosa batted a
career-high .296 with 13 homers and a career-best 74 RBI last
season for the Texas Rangers, appearing at six positions and
starting at all four infield spots. He can also play the outfield.

"They deserve a winner. Chicago deserves a winner," DeRosa
said during a conference call. "Hopefully, I can come in there and
provide leadership in the clubhouse and be a character guy and
command respect."

The agreement was first reported by ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

Drafted by the Braves in 1996, he has appeared in 595 major
league games with Atlanta and Texas. Although the Cubs were an
NL-worst 66-96 last season, DeRosa asked, "Why wouldn't I want to
come to Chicago?"

He was looking forward to playing second base every day in a
place where the atmosphere "is electric."

Chicago earlier re-signed third baseman Aramis Ramirez to a five-year, $75 million deal and pitchers Kerry Wood (one year for $1.75 million) and Wade Miller. The Cubs also hired a new
manager: Lou Piniella.

With DeRosa signed, Ronny Cedeno will have to earn a spot on the
roster. The team's starting shortstop when last season began,
Cedeno batted .308 in April but finished at .245. He also had
trouble in the field, committing 25 errors in his first full season.

Cedeno made 14 starts at second base after the Cubs acquired
Cesar Izturis from the Dodgers on July 31, but moved back to
shortstop after Izturis sustained a hamstring injury.

"We're not here to bury Ronny Cedeno," general manager Jim
Hendry said. "But he's got to earn his way back. ... There's going
to be enough playing time for a lot of people."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.