Unwilling to gamble more than three years of guaranteed money on Vladimir Guerrero's once-injured back, the New York Mets paid for their caution when they learned the free-agent outfielder was signing a mega-deal with the Anaheim Angels, the New York Daily News reported.
The identity of that team had remained something of a mystery until late Saturday night. The Angels jumped into the Guerrero sweepstakes only a few days ago, when it became clear that one of the best players in baseball still was up for grabs. The deal reportedly was for five years and a guaranteed $70-million.
The Mets had offered five years, $71-million, but just $30-million was guaranteed. The Orioles had increased their previous offer to five years, $67.5-million, the Baltimore Sun reported. The Newark Star-Ledger said the Marlins made a one-year, $10-million offer, but the team denied the report.
ASTROS: Owner Drayton McLane already has given retired pitcher Roger Clemens a one-year contract offer, the Houston Chronicle reported. Clemens, 41, is expected to decide by next week, McLane told Houston television station KRIV.
DODGERS: Unless a first baseman is acquired, that job belongs to rightfielder Shawn Green, who will practice in the infield throughout this month's workouts, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. ... Former major-league catcher Terry Kennedy will manage the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s.
ORIOLES: First baseman-DH Rafael Palmeiro accepted a one-year contract with a club option for 2005.
HORSE RACING: Funny Cide wins in return
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide easily won an allowance race at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, the gelding's first race since finishing ninth in the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic 11 weeks ago.
Funny Cide won by five lengths over American Style. Wacky for Love was third.
Also at Gulfstream, 3-2 favorite Wynn Dot Comma won the $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes for 3-year-olds.
TAMPA BAY DOWNS: Wild Speed passed Crafty Tears to win the $60,000 Sandpiper Stakes.
TENNIS: Venus takes tournament
Venus Williams defeated Maria Sharapova 7-5, 6-3 in Hong Kong to win the Champions Challenge exhibition, her first tournament in six months after an injury-ravaged season. Juan Carlos Ferrero won the men's final against Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4.
HOPMAN CUP: Lindsay Davenport and James Blake defeated Daniela Hantuchova and Karol Kucera 6-2, 6-3 to lead the United States to its second straight title with a 2-1 victory over Slovakia in Perth, Australia. Davenport downed Hantuchova 6-3, 6-1, and Kucera beat Blake 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
BOXING: Mosley camp disputes fix
The promoter and lawyer for superwelterweight Shane Mosley disputed a New York Daily News report that an investigation by the FBI and the New York Police Department had found evidence that his unanimous-decision victory in September against Oscar De La Hoya might have been fixed. In the report, several law enforcement officials said that Bob Arum, the head of Top Rank, which promotes De La Hoya, is one of the targets. The inquiry centers on allegations of fixed fights because of forged medical documents.
AKAKURA WINS WBC TITLE: Eagle Akakura (12-0, five KOs) of Thailand captured the WBC strawweight crown, winning a decision against Jose Antonio Aguirre (32-2-1, 21 KOs) in Tokyo.
OLYMPICS: IOC wants VP investigated
The International Olympic Committee wants an investigation of the financial scandal surrounding IOC vice president Kim Un-yong. Kim resigned as a South Korean lawmaker and world tae-kwondo chief Friday, and his IOC position is in jeopardy. He has been questioned by South Korean prosecutors about accusations that he collected illicit money from former South Korean Olympic officials and embezzled funds from taekwondo organizations.
VOLLEYBALL: The Russian men and German women won spots in this summer's Athens Olympics. Russia beat the Netherlands 25-19, 25-17, 25-16 in Leipzig, Germany. Germany downed Turkey 25-22, 25-16, 25-7 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
COLLEGE TENNIS: The USF men swept FAMU 8-0 at the USF Invitational and host UCF at 1 today.
WINTER SPORTS: Austria's Renate Goetschl won her second straight World Cup downhill in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, moving into third place on the career list for downhill victories.