Making a major push at the winter meetings, the Texas Rangers agreed Sunday to contracts with former National League most valuable player Ken Caminiti and right-hander Mark Petkovsek.
Two days after signing first baseman Andres Galarraga to a $6.25-million, one-year deal, the Rangers were still in pursuit of the biggest prize of the free-agent market: shortstop Alex Rodriguez.
"He has said enough positive things to us that I feel confident he is interested," Texas General Manager Doug Melvin said. "But it is a complicated deal."
Melvin met during the day with Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, and the sides were to meet Sunday night, with Ranger owner Tom Hicks scheduled to join in.
Caminiti, a three-time all-star who was the 1996 MVP with San Diego, gets a $250,000 signing bonus and $3-million salary, and the chance to earn $3.55 million in performance bonuses. The option years, which could become guaranteed, are worth $7.05 million each, meaning Caminiti could earn $20.9 million over three years.
Kevin Appier and the New York Mets were close to completing a four-year contract, with the free-agent pitcher in New York for a physical, a baseball source said.
There was no official announcement on a deal--believed to be worth about $42 million--from the meetings.
The Baltimore Orioles also wanted Appier, and seemed prepared to offer more than the Mets. But a source with knowledge of the negotiations said Appier was headed to the National League champions.
Appier was 15-11 with a 4.52 ERA in 195 1/3 innings for American League West champion Oakland.
After meeting again with Manny Ramirez's agent, Jeff Moorad, the Cleveland Indians said they had little hope of re-signing their most productive batter.
"Faint chance, remote chance, unlikely. Those are probably the best words to use," Indian General Manager John Hart said. "It's a faint pulse."
Moorad also met with Boston Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette, who spent two days in California last week trying to work out a deal.
Shortstop Alex Gonzalez agreed to a four-year contract worth about $20 million with the Toronto Blue Jays after the team told him it was prepared to go in another direction. Gonzalez, 27, hit .252 with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs last season. . . . The Arizona Diamondbacks and Curt Schilling's agents are working on a three-year extension worth about $33 million. . . . After signing free-agent pitchers Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle, the Colorado Rockies agreed to a one-year contract with outfielder Ron Gant, 35, that is worth $1.5 million. . . . The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to a two-year deal with outfielder Derek Bell. . . . Outfielder Dave Martinez and the Atlanta Braves agreed on a two-year contract worth $3 million. . . . Edgar Martinez, who hit .323 with 37 home runs and 145 RBIs for Seattle last season, was voted the American League's outstanding designated hitter for the fourth time. . . . The Chicago White Sox traded outfielder Jeff Abbott to the Florida Marlins for minor league outfielder Julio Ramirez. Abbott, 28, hit .274 with three homers and 29 RBIs last season.