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Angels Opt for Carrasco

December 03, 2005|Mike DiGiovanna, Steve Henson | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Angel rotation became a revolving door Friday, as the team signed right-hander Hector Carrasco to a two-year, $6.1-million contract and cut ties with free-agent right-hander Paul Byrd.

The Angels bumped their initial one-year, $5.5-million offer to Byrd to two years and $14 million with a third-year option, but Byrd, torn between returning to Anaheim or playing closer to his Atlanta home, hedged.

The Angels, fearing they might lose Carrasco, withdrew their offer to Byrd and signed Carrasco, with the intention of converting the longtime reliever into a starter. Carrasco went 5-4 with a 2.04 earned-run average in 64 games, including five September starts, for Washington in 2005.

"It was evident we were not going to have an agreement with Paul soon, so rather than lose Carrasco, who had other offers, we figured, let's get a peg on the board and move forward," General Manager Bill Stoneman said.

Said Bo McKinnes, Byrd's agent: "As Paul's children have grown older, it has become much more difficult for him to be away from home. Paul had a wonderful time with the Angels ... and is very appreciative of the opportunity they gave him."

Carrasco, 36, has pitched for six teams -- Cincinnati, Kansas City, Minnesota, Boston, Baltimore and Washington -- in nine seasons but had a career-best year with the Nationals after developing a cut fastball and changeup.

"Washington plays in what is considered a pitcher's park," Stoneman said, "but his numbers on the road were equally good, and he gets left-handers [.208 average] out as well as right-handers [.178 average]. He started [twice] on three days' rest, so he looks pretty durable. And if it doesn't work out for him in the rotation, he'll help us in the bullpen."

Carrasco's deal, which is contingent on his passing a physical, includes a club option for $3 million in 2008 with a $500,000 buyout. If he starts 25 games in 2007, his 2008 salary would be guaranteed at $4.4 million.

In another move, the Angels agreed to terms with Tim Salmon on a minor league contract and invited the veteran outfielder to spring training. Salmon sat out 2005 recovering from shoulder and knee surgery.

-- Mike DiGiovanna

The Dodgers have offered free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal a three-year contract worth close to $40 million, a source with knowledge of the negotiations said Friday night.

The Chicago Cubs have offered Furcal a five-year deal for about $50 million and the latest offer from the Atlanta Braves is no more than $36 million over four years.

The shorter term of the Dodger offer might appeal to Furcal, who is only 28 and could command another lucrative contract three years from now. If he signed, Furcal would make about $2 million more a year than J.D. Drew, the highest-paid Dodger.

Furcal's agent, Paul Kinzer, said that his client won't make a decision "for a couple of more days."

Dodger shortstop Cesar Izturis is recovering from elbow surgery and isn't expected to play until July. Even if Furcal signs elsewhere, the Dodgers plan to acquire a shortstop before spring training.

General Manager Ned Colletti interviewed the last of five managerial candidates--Cleveland bench coach Joel Skinner -- Friday in Ohio and finalists are expected to speak with owner Frank McCourt next week.

-- Steve Henson

The New York Yankees agreed to terms on a $17-million, three-year contract with reliever Kyle Farnsworth, moving quickly to replace Tom Gordon as the primary setup man for Mariano Rivera.

The hard-throwing right-hander split last season between the Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves, who acquired him at the July 31 trade deadline.

The Minnesota Twins acquired second baseman Luis Castillo from the Florida Marlins for minor league pitchers Travis Bowyer and Scott Tyler.

Castillo, 30, batted .301 with four homers, 30 RBIs and 10 steals in 439 at-bats last season and won his third straight Gold Glove award.

The Atlanta Braves finalized a $37-million, three-year contract with Chipper Jones that guarantees the third baseman an additional $15 million and saves the club $6 million in 2006 salary, money that could be used to re-sign Furcal.

Cuban President Fidel Castro clearly confirmed published comments that his country would play in next year's inaugural World Baseball Classic, scheduled for March 3-20.


Rahlves, Miller Go 1-2in World Cup Downhill

Daron Rahlves edged Bode Miller in a World Cup downhill at Beaver Creek, Colo., for a 1-2 U.S. finish, reversing their order from last year on the same mountain.

This time, Rahlves covered the course -- shortened because of wind and fog -- in 1 minute 13.37 seconds.

Two skiers later, Miller came down in 1:13.64, going through the top faster than Rahlves before losing ground in the latter stages. Hans Grugger of Austria was third in 1:13.71.

Elena Fanchini of Italy won her first World Cup title -- the inaugural women's downhill of the season in 1:49.33 at Lake Louise, Canada.

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