Jan 26, 2005
By Bob Elliott
Marlins pull off one shell of a deal
Joe's Stone Crab has seen some heavy hitters since its doors opened in 1913. Joe DiMaggio, J. Edgar Hoover, Damon Runyon, Shaquille O'Neal and The Duke and Duchess of Windsor all cracked shells to eat stone crab at the North Miami Beach Landmark.
Yet, not often did Joe's get a crowd of heavy hitters like it had on Jan. 15. That's when the Florida Marlins first entertained free-agent slugger Carlos Delgado.
Florida entered the bidding with a three-year, $35-million US offer. And as the bidding continued in The Price is Right fashion, the Marlins, Delgado, and his agent, David Sloane of Coral Springs, Fla., agreed upon a four-year guaranteed deal worth $52 million, the richest contract in franchise history.
If the option vests it could bring the total package to $64 million. That's a tad more than the two-year, $12 million deal that the Blue Jays made with their “the cheque is in the mail, let's do lunch sometime” offer.
The deal is contingent upon Delgado's passing a physical this morning.
It was a table for 11 at Joe's: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who returned from France early for the meeting; general manager Larry Beinfest; manager Jack McKeon; special assistants Tony Perez and Andre Dawson; recently signed pitcher Al Leiter; and three other Marlins officials, plus Delgado and Sloane.
Perez hit 379 homers in his 23-year career, Dawson hit 438 homers in 21 years, and Delgado has 336 homers in his first 12 seasons.
Leiter doesn't have any homers, but he has given up 185 during his 18 seasons.
How many other tables at Joe's had 1,153 homers seated together?
The final line shows that Delgado took a haircut from his previous contract, the four-year, $68-million deal with the Jays. He went to an average annual salary of $13 million from $17 million.
Yet, the total package jumped $19 million in 10 days. No more talk about Delgado waiting too long or not getting as much as Richie Sexson, who played 23 games in 2004 before suffering a shoulder injury.
The Seattle Mariners gave Sexson a four-year, $50-million deal and Adrian Beltre a five-year, $64-million package.
The New York Mets were left snarling, being told that they were out of the Delgado picture Sunday before having to climb back into the bidding on Monday. They also offered $30,000 more over four years.
“From Day 1 we told everyone that Carlos would make his choice based on where he felt he had the best chance to win a World Series,” Sloane said. “I'm proud to say that is exactly why he made the choice he made.”
Delgado should stay loose facing Pedro Martinez.
The Texas Rangers got cold feet and withdrew from bidding Sunday.
On the final day of the season Delgado said he “wanted the chance to win.” The Marlins won the World Series in 2003 and had 83 wins in 2004. That has taken him away from his comfort zone in the American League and the fall-back position of a DH.
With speedsters Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo atop the order, McKeon will have Miguel Cabrera, Delgado, Mike Lowell and Paul Lo Duca to drive in runs. Florida expects to contend in the NL East with a rotation of Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett, Dontrelle Willis and Leiter,
They'll battle the Philadelphia Phillies, the Atlanta Braves, and the improved Mets.