Mets close to signing free agent Alou

Updated: November 20, 2006, 6:19 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets were close to an agreement Saturday on a one-year contract with Moises Alou, who would replace oft-injured left fielder Cliff Floyd.

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Moises Alou could be the Frank Thomas of 2007, batting in the middle of what should be an incredibly powerful Mets lineup.

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The deal, worth about $8 million to $9 million, would contain an option for 2009. Alou would have to pass a physical before the contract is finalized. The negotiations were disclosed by a baseball official who spoke on condition of anonymity because talks were ongoing.

The son of former San Francisco manager Felipe Alou, Moises hit .301 this year with 22 homers and 74 RBI in 345 at-bats for the Giants. The 40-year-old Alou, a six-time All-Star, also has a .301 career average in 15 major league seasons.

Floyd, hobbled by an Achilles tendon problem for much of the year, batted .244 with 11 homers and 44 RBI. Completing a $26 million, four-year contract, Floyd said at the end of the postseason that he didn't think the Mets were likely to re-sign him.

With Alou in left, Carlos Beltran in center and Shawn Green in right, the Mets could move to trade Lastings Milledge, who had a difficult rookie season and appeared to be at odds with some teammates.

The Mets are confident Alou, one of 11 potential free agents on San Francisco's 2006 roster, can stay healthy and provide a big bat in the middle of their lineup. He is a right-handed hitter -- the Mets struggled against left-handed pitchers at times after trading Xavier Nady to Pittsburgh on July 31.

Although Alou has dealt with leg injuries that sometimes sidelined him for long stints, he said after this season that he planned to keep playing. He still thinks he can contribute on a full-time basis in the outfield and be the dangerous RBI guy he's been for years.

Alou missed time the past two seasons with a variety of injuries, including a troublesome right calf that he has repeatedly strained and a right hamstring injury. In 2006, Alou was on the disabled list with a lower back strain in late June and also missed time with a right ankle sprain.

The Oakland Athletics said Friday that they had been in touch with Alou's representatives recently.

Alou cherished the chance to play for his father, Felipe, the past two seasons in San Francisco -- a reunion for the two after Felipe also managed his son in Montreal.

New York also faces a Monday deadline to decide on left-hander Tom Glavine's $14 million option. Glavine is unsure whether he wants to stay with the Mets or return to the Atlanta Braves, his team from 1987-2002.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press