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Kendall reportedly headed to Oakland

Three-time All-Star catcher Jason Kendall was close to being traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Oakland Athletics for a pair of pitchers, a baseball official told The Associated Press yesterday.

The Pirates would get lefthanded starter Mark Redman, who went 11-12 with a 4.71 ERA, and lefthanded reliever Arthur Rhodes, who was 3-3 with nine saves and a 5.12 ERA, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Kendall, a 30-year-old California native, has a no-trade clause. His agent informed the Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield that he would waive the clause to play for the A's, a person close to Kendall said, also on the condition of anonymity.

Littlefield wouldn't confirm that a deal was nearly done, saying, "There's a lot of speculation about a variety of things."

Kendall, a career .306 hitter over nine seasons with Pittsburgh, is due to make $10 million in 2005, $11 million in 2006, and $13 million in 2007, the final three seasons of the $60 million deal he signed in 2001. The sides were discussing how much of the deal Pittsburgh would assume, the official said.

"I don't comment on trades," Oakland GM Billy Beane said.

Pittsburgh did finalize a deal with the soon-to-be Washington Nationals, acquiring minor league outfielder Antonio Sucre for outfielder J.J. Davis, who was designated for assignment last week.

Miller on hold Free agent Damian Miller is still waiting for the Brewers to finalize his contract. The 35-year-old Wisconsin native was in Milwaukee, hoping to be introduced as the Brewers' new starting catcher. But the club canceled its news conference after it couldn't complete its medical evaluation, the final step needed to finalize his $8.75 million, three-year deal. GM Doug Melvin didn't think the Brewers would be able to finalize the deal until early next week because of the Thanksgiving holiday . . . Dodgers manager Jim Tracy agreed to a two-year contract with Los Angeles following negotiations that took longer than expected. Tracy guided the Dodgers to their first playoff berth since 1996, and their 93-69 record was the team's best since 1991 . . . The Indians will again turn to Bob Wickman as their closer. Wickman agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year deal to stay with the Indians, whose bullpen was shaky early last season when the righthander was recovering from elbow surgery. Cleveland declined to exercise Wickman's $5 million option for next season, but decided to bring back the 12-year veteran after the Indians were unable to land a quality closer within their budget. To make room for Wickman, the Indians designated utility player John McDonald, a former Providence standout, for assignment . . . The Twins and catcher Mike Redmond agreed on a $1.8 million, two-year contract, giving the club veteran insurance behind Joe Mauer. Redmond, who played the past six-plus seasons with Florida, batted .256 with 15 doubles, 2 homers, and 25 RBIs in 246 at-bats last year for the Marlins . . . Former Rockies general manager Bob Gebhard was hired as assistant GM of the Diamondbacks. Arizona manager Bob Melvin also filled out his staff, which will include newcomers Brett Butler as first base coach, former Toronto manager Carlos Tosca as third base coach, and Mike Aldrete as hitting coach . . . Lefthanded reliever Kevin Walker agreed to a $525,000, one-year contract with the White Sox.

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