Angels close to signing Colon; new Met Matsui arrives in U.S.

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

NEW YORK -- The Anaheim Angels closed in on Bartolo Colon, Nomar Garciaparra expressed dismay at Boston's talks to acquire Alex Rodriguez, and Kazuo Matsui arrived in New York on Monday to complete his deal with the Mets.

The day after baseball's first big offseason deadline passed, teams plotted their moves in advance of the winter meetings, which start Friday in New Orleans.

There were only two free-agent signings, with right-hander Kerry Ligtenberg agreeing to a $4.5 million, two-year contract with Toronto and outfielder Eduardo Perez settling on a $1.7 million, two-deal deal with Tampa Bay. But other deals were percolating.

Twenty-five free agents were offered salary arbitration before Sunday's midnight deadline. They have until Dec. 19 to accept and can re-sign with their former teams through Jan. 8. The 139 free agents not offered arbitration can't re-sign until May 1.

Among those cut off by the deadline were Greg Maddux and Atlanta, Ivan Rodriguez and Florida, and Vladimir Guerrero and Montreal.

"There was absolutely no possibility this was going to fit into our operating scheme this year," Braves general manager John Schuerholz said of Maddux. "I would have loved to have seen him say, 'I want to stay with the Braves no matter what. I want to achieve these goals wearing a Braves uniform. I want to stay.' We all would have loved that. But our economics and his economics weren't anywhere near each other."

Colon was close to a big money-deal Monday.

While neither Colon nor the Angels discussed the talk, both Anaheim and the Chicago White Sox believed the right-hander was on the verge of a deal with Anaheim, said two baseball officials familiar with the negotiations.

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