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Baseball briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000

Mets re-sign Valentine, GM

NEW YORK -- The Mets re-signed general manager Steve Phillips and manager Bobby Valentine to three-year contracts Tuesday after they guided the team to its first World Series appearance in 14 years.

"I knew I can do better than I've done," Valentine said. "I can manage better and can interact better with those around me."

Phillips' deal is for about $3-million, Valentine's about $7.5-million, Newsday reported, citing co-owner Nelson Doubleday. Valentine's signing ends months of speculation about his future with the National League champions.

"This is a contract that Bobby richly deserves," Phillips said. "It's nice to finally be able to get to this day."

Also, reliever John Franco and rightfielder Derek Bell filed for free agency.

M's re-sign Piniella

Lou Piniella, who managed the Mariners to the American League Championship Series in the final year of his contract, agreed to a three-year deal with Seattle.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Piniella, reached by telephone at his Tampa home, said he was "well taken care of." The Seattle Times reported that the deal is worth around $6.5-million.

"We had a very successful season in Seattle, and we're looking forward to building on that," Piniella said.

The Mariners won a franchise-best 91 games.

CUBS: President and general manager Andy MacPhail says there is no deadline in the Sammy Sosa contract talks. Sosa is set to make $12-million next year and seeks a six-year deal worth about $100-million.

PADRES: Eight-time NL batting champion Tony Gwynn filed for free agency. San Diego declined a $6-million option, electing to pay a $2-million buyout. "Everybody wants to be nostalgic, but business is business," Gwynn said.

PIRATES: Pittsburgh will play the Mets in two exhibition games next year to open PNC Park, the Pirates' new 38,000-seat home field. The games are scheduled for March 31 and April 1.

RED SOX: Boston declined to exercise options for pitchers Ramon Martinez, Tim Wakefield, Tom Gordon and Pete Schourek.

YANKEES: Just beating the deadline, Roger Clemens appealed a $50,000 fine for throwing the jagged barrel of Mike Piazza's bat toward the Mets catcher during Game 2 of the World Series.

Clemens, who beaned Piazza in July, said he did not deliberately throw the bat in front of Piazza on Oct. 22. He was not ejected by umpires, but Frank Robinson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline, decided punishment was necessary.

Also, reliever Jeff Nelson and starter Denny Neagle filed for free agency.

CUBAS TESTIFIES: Sports agent Joe Cubas testified in a trial over a finder's fee for pitcher Orlando Hernandez that he didn't file income tax returns after 1995. Cubas' finances are an issue because Tom Cronin, a real estate agent from Orleans, Mass., is seeking one-third of Cubas' $330,000 commission for Hernandez's contract, plus punitive damages, accusing Cubas of refusing to pay on a handwritten contract.

OWNERS MEETINGS: Owners approved a television deal with Fox and approved a contract with the new umpires union. They deferred a vote on the proposed sale of the Blue Jays.

Commissioner Bud Selig said there was no discussion of the collective bargaining agreement that expires next year. The expiration could lead to baseball's ninth work stoppage since 1972.

Fox agreed Sept. 27 to a $2.5-billion, six-year contract that gives it rights to the playoffs, World Series, All-Star Game and a game-of-the-week package through 2006. The deal is worth about 50 percent more than the previous five-year contracts, in which Fox and NBC split rights.

RANKINGS: Randy Johnson not only was baseball's top pitcher, he was the sport's top player in statistical rankings by the Elias Sports Bureau. He scored 99.227 out of 100, based on statistics from the past two seasons. The Arizona left-hander replaced Los Angeles' Kevin Brown, who dropped from 98.232 to 97.595. Cleveland outfielder Manny Ramirez was the top-rated position player at 97.284.

The rankings are used to divide free agents into groups that determine draft-pick compensation for a player's former club if he signs with a new team.

ALL-MAJORS TEAM: Johnson joined Boston's Pedro Martinez as starting pitchers on the Associated Press major-league All-Star team. (Complete list, Page 9C).

OBITUARY: Former major-leaguer Andujar Cedeno died Saturday in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He was 31. Cedeno played parts of seven seasons with Houston, San Diego and Detroit, hitting .236 with 47 home runs and 223 RBI.

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