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Yankees give Burnett $82.5m

Associated Press / December 13, 2008
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The New York Yankees reeled in another pitcher with a rich offer, reaching agreement with free agent A.J. Burnett on an $82.5 million, five-year contract yesterday.

CC Sabathia and the Yankees struck a deal for $161 million over seven years Wednesday during the winter meetings. After missing the playoffs following a 13-year run, the Yankees again showed they were more than willing to shell out big bucks for pitching.

Burnett's agreement was confirmed by the office of his agent, Darek Braunecker. The pitcher still needs to take a physical before the deal is completed.

He joins a rotation that also includes holdovers Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain. New York is hoping to re-sign Andy Pettitte and has looked at Ben Sheets as an alternative.

Burnett won 10 of his last 12 decisions and finished 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA for Toronto. He set career highs in wins, strikeouts (231), and innings (221 1/3).

After the season, the 31-year-old righthander opted out of his $55 million, five-year contract with the Blue Jays and became a free agent. He had two years and $24 million left on his deal with Toronto.

Burnett has done especially well against American League East rivals Boston and New York. He went 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in five starts against the Yankees this year; he is 5-0 lifetime vs. the Red Sox.

Burnett, however, has been plagued by injuries over the years and has made several trips to the disabled list with elbow and shoulder troubles.

Phillies land Ibañez

The world champion Phillies reached a three-year, $31.5 million preliminary agreement with Raul Ibañez to become their everyday left fielder.

Ibañez's signing, pending a physical, signals the end of Pat Burrell's tenure in Philadelphia. Burrell filed for free agency after the season, and Ibañez, 36, will take his place.

Last season with the Mariners, Ibañez hit .293 with 23 homers and 110 RBIs, the third straight year he knocked in more than 100 runs.

No tender for Cash

The Red Sox have declined to tender a 2009 contract to catcher Kevin Cash, making him a free agent. Cash appeared in 61 games last season, hitting .225 with three homers and 15 RBIs. He was used as the regular catcher for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield . . . The New York Mets traded reliever Scott Schoeneweis to the Arizona Diamondbacks for righthander Connor Robertson . . . The Cincinnati Reds strengthened their bullpen by agreeing to a $4 million, two-year contract with lefthander Arthur Rhodes . . . The Chicago White Sox agreed to a four-year, $10 million contract with Cuban infielder Dayan Viciedo. Viciedo, 19, is expected to compete for playing time at third base with Josh Fields and perhaps Wilson Betemit . . . Outfielder Willie Harris agreed to a two-year, $3 million contract with the Washington Nationals. The Nationals also announced they did not tender a 2009 contract to righthander Tim Redding, the only pitcher to win 10 games for the team last season . . . The Rockies allowed outfielder Willy Taveras to become a free agent by not tendering him a contract . . . The Detroit Tigers re-signed infielder Ramon Santiago to an $825,000, one-year pact . . . Righthander Clay Hensley, who allowed Barry Bonds's record-tying 755th home run, and righthander Charlie Haeger became free agents after they weren't offered contracts for 2009 by the San Diego Padres . . . The Oakland Athletics have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with backup catcher Rob Bowen . . . Former A's first baseman Troy Neel has been charged with fleeing to a tiny South Pacific island to avoid paying about $725,000 in child support. Federal authorities arrested the 43-year-old Neel, a fugitive since he fled in 1998, at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday.

Jays sign Clement

The Toronto Blue Jays signed former All-Star righthander Matt Clement to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. He went 13-6 with a 4.57 ERA in 32 starts in his All-Star season in 2005 with the Red Sox. Clement has not pitched in the majors since 2006 because of shoulder problems. The 34-year-old signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with St. Louis last winter, but was released after 16 minor league appearances, including four starts . . . Former Red Sox utility infielder Ramon Vazquez signed a $4 million, two-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates . . . The Chicago Cubs and righthander Chad Gaudin have agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract. The Cubs also signed pitcher Neal Cotts for one year at $1.1 million . . . Milwaukee Brewers lefthander Chris Capuano was nontendered; likewise Houston Astros third baseman Ty Wigginton, Los Angeles Dodgers closer Takashi Saito, and Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Jonny Gomes . . . Former Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams, 40, is expected to play winter ball in Puerto Rico.

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