Red Sox keep Varitek with $40-million deal

Friday, December 24, 2004

NEW YORK -- Jason Varitek decided to stay with a winner on Thursday, agreeing to a $40 million, four-year contract with the World Series champion Red Sox, a deal that is to be announced today.

Also Thursday, Andres Galarraga agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Mets. The 43-year-old first baseman, who has come back twice from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, needs one home run to reach 400.

Two other deals were finalized as many teams started closing their offices for the holiday break: the Dodgers' $55 million, five-year contract with outfielder J.D. Drew and Boston's $1.5 million, one-year agreement with right-hander Wade Miller, who was let go by Houston earlier this week.

Varitek, who hit a career-high .296 last season with 18 homers and 73 RBIs, will receive a $4 million signing bonus paid over four years and annual salaries of $9 million. The sides compromised over his desire for a no-trade clause, working out a solution that will cover a large part of the contract but not all of it.

"Jason is clearly a key asset we need (to) retain. He is the rock solid leader of our club," principal owner John Henry said in an e-mail to The Associated Press, without confirming an agreement.

Drew played in a career-high 145 games for Atlanta last season, hitting .305 and setting personal bests with 31 homers, 118 runs scored, 93 RBIs, 158 hits and 118 walks.

"I'm looking forward to another healthy year," Drew said. "The thing I learned last year is the more you're on the field, the more consistent you can become."

Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta thinks Drew is one of the most complete players in the game.

"What we saw last year we hope is the first great year of many years to come," DePodesta said. "He had been a target for a long time. He comes in with a great track record and we feel he's just entering his prime. We have a 29-year-old who's an excellent fielder, hits with power and also gets on base. If he can remain consistently healthy, he has a chance to put up some pretty gaudy numbers over the length of the contract."

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