BASEBALL Rangers dispell rumors, sign Soriano for 1 year

Paul Molitor agreed to return to Minnesota as a minor league instructor.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Alfonso Soriano agreed to a $7.5 million, one-year contract with the Texas Rangers, who avoided salary arbitration with the All-Star second baseman they insist they aren't trying to trade.
"We've never been looking to move him. If there was an opportunity to make the club better, of course you have to listen," Rangers assistant general manager Jon Daniels said Monday. "It was rumors and speculation, not reality."
Although he had an AL-high 23 errors, Soriano hit .280 with 28 homers and 91 RBIs before missing the final 16 games last season with a strained left hamstring.
Beltran's contract up in 2018
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets signed Carlos Beltran to play center field for the next seven years. They'll be paying him for the next 14.
New York will not make the final payment on Beltran's $119 million contract until July 1, 2018, according to details of the agreement that were obtained by The Associated Press.
Beltran's deal contains $22 million in deferred salary that will be paid out in the seven years after the contract expires. He will be 41 by the time he receives all the money, which will be paid each July 1 starting in 2012 in yearly installments of $3,142,857 plus interest that will accrue at the rate of 1.7175 percent annually.
Beltran will get an array of perks as part of the contract, including a hotel suite on all road trips and a 15-person luxury suite for all home games, although he must buy tickets for the suite for any postseason games. In the most unusual clause of the deal, the Mets agreed to lease for Beltran an ocular enhancer machine, a device that throws colored, numbered tennis balls to batters at 150 mph or faster.
Devil Rays sign Alomar
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Roberto Alomar, a 12-time All-Star second baseman, agreed with Tampa Bay Devil Rays to a one-year contract after missing two months last season with a broken right hand and hitting just .263 in 56 games for Arizona and the Chicago White Sox. The deal is contingent upon a physical.
Since hitting .336 with Cleveland in 2001, Alomar has struggled at the plate while hitting .266, .258 and .263 the past three seasons.
Around the bases
Paul Molitor is returning to Minnesota as a roving minor league instructor, the same job he held before a one-year stint as Seattle's hitting coach. Molitor will be responsible for coordinating the baserunning and infield instruction within the Twins' minor league system, the team said Monday. ... Gold Glove shortstop Cesar Izturis avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $9.9 million, three-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Izturis receives a $300,000 signing bonus and will earn $2.05 million this year, $3.1 million in 2006, and $4.15 million in 2007. ... Left-handed reliever J.C. Romero agreed to a $3.7 million, two-year contract with the Minnesota Twins. ... New Atlanta Braves closer Dan Kolb avoided arbitration Monday by agreeing to a $3.4 million, one-year contract. Kolb more than doubled his salary from last season. ... The San Francisco Giants agreed to a $6.1 million, two-year contract with utilityman Pedro Feliz to avoid salary arbitration. The 29-year-old Feliz, considered to be one of the team's key players for the future, gets a $200,000 signing bonus and will earn base salaries of $2,225,000 in 2005 and $3,625,000 in 2006. ... Florida Marlins right-hander A.J. Burnett agreed to a $3.65 million, one-year contract.

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