Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL)  October 20, 2000


 Delgado's deal raises the bar for other players

Byline: Phil Rogers

CHICAGO _ The early returns are in and they are not good for the Cubs' ongoing attempt to sign Sammy Sosa to a contract extension.

Toronto's Carlos Delgado, who at 28 is three years younger than Sosa and has hit 196 fewer career home runs, raised the bar on salaries Friday with his four-year, $68-million deal. But he won't be the highest paid for long.

Manny Ramirez, who already has turned down five years and $75 million, is expected to receive a bigger offer from the Cleveland Indians this week. And, like Chipper Jones' six-year, $90 million deal with Atlanta, these are only the contract prelims.

Things will get serious with Alex Rodriguez in November. His deal will have major bearing on Derek Jeter, who is expected to make Yankees owner George Steinbrenner pay for leaving that nine-year, $120 million deal in his desk drawer too long.

Delgado forced the Blue Jays' hand by challenging for the Triple Crown after signing a deal last winter that included the right to demand a trade after the season. He had two years left on that contract but signed for two more years. The average value of the deal is $17 million, which makes it the biggest on the books. The biggest had been Rogers Clemens' $15.45 million.