Gold Glove centerfielder Andruw Jones, 30, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have reached a preliminary agreement on a $36.2 million, two-year contract that will give him the fifth-highest average salary in the major leagues.
"We're thrilled to get a player of his caliber," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said yesterday. "His desire to be in L.A. was a huge component in this."
The five-time all-star will receive a $12.2 million signing bonus, of which $5.1 million is payable next year.
Jones' $18.1 million average salary trails only those of the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million), Boston's Manny Ramirez ($20 million), the Yankees' Derek Jeter ($18.9 million), and the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano ($18.3 million).
Kansas City's Jose Guillen and Baltimore's Jay Gibbons were suspended for the first 15 days of next season for violating baseball's drug policy.
Guillen and Gibbons were named in media reports as having received human growth hormone after January 2005, when it was banned by baseball.
Gary Matthews Jr. (Angels), Rick Ankiel (Cardinals), Troy Glaus (Blue Jays) and Scott Schoeneweis (Mets) also were linked to HGH, but baseball decided there was "insufficient evidence" to determine whether they committed doping violations.
George Mitchell was hired by commissioner Bud Selig in 2006 to investigate drug use in baseball. The New York Times' Web site said the report could be released Thursday.
Awards on hold.
Baseball writers tabled their decision to prevent players from receiving bonuses for winning the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young or rookie of the year awards.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America voted, 41-21, Wednesday in favor of the resolution. But the BBWAA's board voted, 7-0, to table it.