Lloyd signs $9 million deal

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The Independent Online

With new incoming baseball owner Jeffrey Loria showing a desire to spend, the Montreal Expos agreed on Monday to a $9 million, three-year contract with left-hander Graeme Lloyd.

With new incoming baseball owner Jeffrey Loria showing a desire to spend, the Montreal Expos agreed on Monday to a $9 million, three-year contract with left-hander Graeme Lloyd.

"It was surprising at first," he said. "I wasn't sure what to expect but they certainly turned my head."

Lloyd, dealt by the New York Yankees to Toronto in February's trade for Roger Clemens, gets a $3 million signing bonus and annual salaries of $2 million.

The 201-centimeter (6-foot-7) Australian, who is 32, was a setup man for Toronto closer Billy Koch last season and is expected to perform a similar role for Ugueth Urbina in Montreal.

"I know that we have some work to do with the Expos," Lloyd said. "One of the things that excites me about becoming an Expo is the opportunity to build a winning team."

The Seattle Mariners signed two free agents, agreeing to one-year contracts with second baseman Mark McLemore and outfielder Stan Javier.

McLemore, 35, hit .274 with six home runs and 45 RBI in 144 games for Texas last season. He was fourth in the American League with 105 runs scored, and third in the league in walks with 83.

Javier, 35, hit .285 with three home runs and 34 RBI while splitting last season between San Francisco and Houston.

The Chicago Cubs agreed to a two-year contract with shortstop Ricky Gutierrez, who hit .261 in 85 games for the Astros last season and spent two long stints on the disabled list.

In the one trade of the day, St. Louis finalized a deal that sends right-hander Juan Acevedo and two minor league players to be named to the Milwaukee Brewers for second baseman Fernando Vina. The trade was completed after Vina passed a physical.

"Fernando is the type of player we have been seeking for some time," Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty said. "He's a proven leadoff hitter who runs well, plays solid defense, and will serve as a catalyst for our offense."

Vina hit .266 with one home run, 16 RBIs and five steals in 154 at-bats. He batted .311 in 1998 with seven homers, 45 RBIs and 22 steals.

Acevedo was 6-8 with a 5.89 ERA and four saves last year. He began the year as the closer and after some trouble he was also tried as a starter and middle reliever.

Monday also was the deadline for teams to offer players on their rosters contracts for next season. Players not offered contracts became free agents.

Among those cut were Cleveland catcher Tyler Houston, Chicago Cubs right-hander Scott Sanders, Montreal right-hander Dan Smith, New York Mets right-hander Billy Taylor, San Francisco infielder F P Santangelo, Oakland outfielder Rich Becker and Anaheim infielder Andy Sheets.

Several players eligible for arbitration agreed to one-year contracts: Minnesota outfielder Matt Lawton ($2 million), Pirates right-hander Rich Loiselle ($400,000) and left-hander Chris Peters ($550,000).

The New York Yankees finally announced their $1.25 million, one-year contract with catcher Jim Leyritz, a deal reached more than a month ago.

Also, Kerry Wood agreed to a $690,000, one-year contract with the Cubs, the same salary he earned in 1999 after winning the NL Rookie of the Year award.

Wood, who missed the entire season, threw off the mound on Monday for the first time since reconstructive surgery on his right elbow last April.

"It felt great. It's the first time I got off the mound to a catcher in full gear and squatting," Wood said in a conference call from Arizona. "The mechanics felt a lot better. My control wasn't where I'd like it to be, but that's to be expected."