Rodriguez, Shields Get 1-Year Deals

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Angels avoided arbitration with the two most important pieces of their bullpen, agreeing to terms Tuesday on a one-year, $3.775-million deal with closer Francisco Rodriguez and a one-year, $2.1-million deal with set-up man Scot Shields.

Rodriguez's agent, Paul Kinzer, said Tuesday's agreement does not preclude the 24-year-old right-hander from signing a multiyear deal in the coming weeks.

"Frankie is very happy with this, but I'm sure we'll still be talking with the Angels," Kinzer said. "We got this year worked out -- there's no pressure from arbitration. We still have time to work on the multiyear deal."

Rodriguez went 2-5 with a 2.67 earned-run average and 45 saves in 50 chances in his first full season as the Angel closer, converting his final 18 save chances. He tied Cleveland's Bob Wickman for the American League lead in saves.

Rodriguez received a considerable raise from his $440,000 salary in 2005, and his deal was just a shade less than the $3.975-million contract Houston closer Brad Lidge, also in his first year of arbitration, signed Tuesday.

Shields, 30, appeared in a club-record 78 games last season, going 10-11 with a 2.75 ERA and seven saves, leading AL relievers with 91 2/3 innings pitched and ranking second with 98 strikeouts.

Shields, who made $925,000 in 2005, has pitched 197 innings over the last two seasons, more than any other major league reliever.

Tuesday's deals leave only one arbitration-eligible Angel, reliever Brendan Donnelly, unsigned. The right-hander and the team exchanged salary figures, Donnelly asking for $1.05 million and the Angels offering $850,000. With the bulk of their players signed for 2006, the Angels' projected payroll is about $95 million.

-- Mike DiGiovanna


The Angels would not satisfy their stadium lease by calling themselves the Orange County Angels of Anaheim, City Manager Dave Morgan testified.

Morgan, the first witness in the city's lawsuit against the team, said such a name would violate the intent of a lease clause requiring the team name to "include the name Anaheim therein." The lease language was written to provide Disney with the flexibility for "some departure like the Soaring Angels or the Mighty Angels," Morgan said, and both sides understood the intent.

"No one ever thought of two geographic identifiers," he said. "That's nonsense. It screams out nonsense."

The city charges the Angels' new name -- the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- violates the lease. The trial continues today.

-- Bill Shaikin


New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez said he would participate in the World Baseball Classic as a member of the U.S. team. Rodriguez vacillated until the deadline, torn between his allegiance to the Dominican Republic and the U.S. or not play at all.

All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira agreed to a $15.4-million, two-year contract with the Texas Rangers. Teixeira batted .301 with 43 home runs and 144 runs batted in last season.... Catcher Brian Schneider agreed to a $16-million, four-year contract with the Washington Nationals and first baseman Nick Johnson came to terms on a $3.2-million, one-year deal.

Pitcher Jason Marquis and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a $5.15-million, one-year contract.... Right-hander Kip Wells, the major league leader with 18 losses last season, agreed to a $4.15-million contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.... Left-hander Ted Lilly and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to a $4-million, one-year contract.... Pitcher Erik Bedard agreed to a one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles for $3.8 million.

New York Met pitcher Victor Zambrano agreed to a $3-million, one-year contract....Reliever Guillermo Mota and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a $3-million, one-year contract.... Third baseman Joe Crede and the Chicago White Sox agreed to a one-year contract worth $2,675,000.... Right-hander Aaron Harang agreed to a $2.35-million, one-year contract with Cincinnati.... Reliever Dan Wheeler agreed to a one-year contract with the Houston Astros worth $930,000.


U.S. Cross-Country Team Is Named

Carl Swenson highlighted the list of 17 Americans named to the U.S. Olympic cross-country team for next month's Turin Games.

The 35-year-old Swenson, a seven-year veteran of the U.S. team, is headed to his third Olympics before he retires from competitive skiing to begin law school later this year. He is a medal contender in the 50-kilometer race.

Police can't use Denny Neagle's statement to an officer who cited him on a charge of soliciting a prostitute because the pitcher wasn't read his rights.

Neagle was ticketed in the Denver suburb of Lakewood in December 2004 after a woman in his car told police he had paid her $40 for sex. The Colorado Rockies terminated his contract, but later agreed to an undisclosed settlement.

One of the arresting officers, Michael Maestas, testified that he had told Neagle it would help his case if he was honest. Neagle responded that he was dropping the woman off, but when Maestas said he did not believe him, Neagle then said he wanted a sex act, Maestas testified.

USC quarterback Matt Leinart, who is expected to be among the top players chosen in the NFL draft, will announce today that agents Leigh Steinberg and Chuck Price will handle his contract negotiations.

Leinart, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, announced last week that Creative Artists Agency would represent him for business ventures.

-- Gary Klein


The sale of D.C. United's operating rights for a Major League Soccer-record price of more than $25 million is off. AEG, which has operated United since 2001, will run the club until a new buyer is found. The sale was to be to a Washington, D.C. group, Global Development Partners.

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