Free-agent slugger Hideki Matsui and the Oakland Athletics worked yesterday to finalize a contract that would make him the team's new designated hitter.
A person with knowledge of the deal confirmed to the Associated Press that the sides were close. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no formal announcement.
According to the Contra Costa Times, the 36-year-old Matsui is expected to sign a 1-year deal for about $6 million, the same money he made with the Los Angeles Angels last season.
Oakland general manager Billy Beane has been looking for a DH this winter to boost production in the middle of the batting order. The A's hit just 109 homers and scored 663 runs last season, their second-fewest in the last 28 non-strike seasons.
Matsui batted .274 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI last season. He spent his first seven major league seasons with the New York Yankees and was MVP of the 2009 World Series.
Last week, Oakland failed to reach agreement on a contract with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma during the allotted 30-day negotiating period.
The A's also agreed to terms with righthander Joey Devine on a 1-year contract worth $557,500.
* Baseball sources told ESPN.com that Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore is determining the market for righthanded starter Zack Greinke, and that the Rangers and Yankees aren't in the mix because they don't have enough to trade. There is also the issue of Greinke's social anxiety disorder, which may make him a poor fit in some markets like New York. According to sources, Toronto and Washington are interested in Greinke and have players the Royals would want in return.
* Texas re-signed catcher Matt Treanor to a 1-year, $850,000 contract. The Rangers already have acquired Yorvit Torrealba from San Diego to be the primary starter in 2011, but the 34-year-old Treanor is likely to play about one-third of the time.
* Righthanded closer Koji Uehara signed a 1-year deal with Baltimore. The 35-year-old has endured two injury-riddled seasons with the Orioles.
* Ken Oberkfell was hired as the New York Mets' bench coach under new manager Terry Collins following two seasons as the team's Triple A manager at Buffalo. Also, Mookie Wilson was hired as first-base coach, a role he held from 1997-02.
* Righthander Dustin Moseley and San Diego finalized a $900,000, 1-year contract. Moseley went 4-4 with a 4.96 ERA in nine starts and seven relief appearances with the New York Yankees last season.
* The average salary in Major League Baseball finished over $3 million for the first time. The 912 players in the big leagues before rosters expanded in September averaged $3,014,572, the Major League Baseball Players Association said.. The average rose 0.6 percent from last year's $2,996,106, the smallest increase since a 2.5 percent drop in 2004. The Yankees had the highest final average at $7,604,937, down slightly from $7,663,351 when they won the World Series in 2009. The Phillies rose from eighth to second at $5,662,551.
* Ferguson Jenkins, the only Canadian inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, is getting his own stamp for his 68th birthday. The Canada Post issued a Jenkins stamp to commemorate Black History month in February.