Roberts, Aurilia reach agreements with Giants
The Giants just got older as well as worse defensively this weekend, retaining nominal second baseman Ray Durham while bringing in infielder Rich Aurilia and outfielder Dave Roberts.
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Aurilia joins outfielder Dave Roberts, who signed a three-year, $18 million contract Saturday, as a new acquisition in San Francisco.
Aurilia, who hit 23 homers and drove in 70 runs in Cincinnati last year, was offered salary arbitration by the Reds on Friday. But he declined the offer and will return to the organization where he began his major-league career.
Aurilia played for the Giants from 1995-2003 and had his best career year in 2001, when he hit 37 homers and drove in 97 runs. He left for Seattle as a free agent before the 2004 season.
Aurilia played all four infield positions for Cincinnati last year. He will most likely play first base if the Giants re-sign Pedro Feliz. A report Saturday in the San Jose Mercury News said Feliz will indeed be back next season after agreeing to a one-year contract believed to be worth $5-6 million. Aurilia would likely move to third base if Feliz does not return.
The Giants re-signed second baseman Ray Durham to a two-year, $14 million contract on Friday.
Roberts played the 2006 season with the San Diego Padres and made $2.25 million. He led the team with 49 stolen bases and tied a franchise record with 13 triples.
The 34-year-old Roberts spent the past two seasons with Bruce Bochy in San Diego and had said he would be interested in following his manager to the Giants. San Francisco hired Bochy last month to replace Felipe Alou.
"The comfort level is extremely high for me, having a manager I respect and love playing for and being in the same division," Roberts said.
The 34-year-old had a career year with the Padres, hitting .293 with 146 hits, 80 runs, and a .360 on-base percentage in 129 games -- all career highs.
Roberts is fourth in the majors with 195 steals the last five seasons, and his 81.3 percent success ratio is second best among players with at least 175 stolen bases in the span.
"I think it puts pressure on the defense," Roberts said. "Obviously I take pride in stealing bases. I also take pride in having a high percentage of stolen bases. I don't want to run into outs."
Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN Insider. His book "License To Deal" has been published by Rodale. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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