Report: Nomar, Dodgers close to signing another deal

Updated: November 17, 2006, 1:51 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Maybe it was the comeback player of the year award. More likely, the high cost of replacing J.D. Drew convinced the Dodgers that they might want to hang on to Nomar Garciaparra.

Nomar Garciaparra
Garciaparra

The Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday night that the team will offer the free agent a multiyear contract with a higher base salary than the incentive-laden deal Garciaparra played with last season.

This deal didn't seem possible at the end of last season when the oft-injured Garciaparra hurt his quadriceps during the playoff chase and struggled to a .222 average in the Dodgers' 3-0 division series defeat at the hands of the Mets.

Promising youngster James Loney batted .284 with four home runs and 18 RBI in only 102 at-bats while spelling Garciaparra at first base last year. Although Garciaparra bounced back from a lost season in Chicago with a .303 average, 20 homers and 93 RBI in 2006, it appeared likely the Dodgers would opt for Loney's inexpensive promise.

That was before Drew shocked the Dodgers by opting out of the last three years of his contract to pursue riches in a thin free-agent market. Faced with losing his 20 home runs and 100 RBI, the Dodgers may have had a change of heart with Garciaparra.