Rangers exit Delgado derby

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

Full of vim, vigor and sackfuls of cash the Texas Rangers front office travelled to Puerto Rico on Friday.

They made free-agent Carlos Delgado a four-year, $48-million US offer.

The Rangers sent owner Tom Hicks, general manager John Hart and manager Buck Showalter.

Texas looked like Delgado's probable destination yesterday afternoon. Now, it has all turned around and Texas has withdrawn its offer.

The favourites to land the former Blue Jays first baseman are either the Florida Marlins or the Baltimore Orioles. The New York Mets, apparently, also have pulled out. Both the Mets and the Rangers had set a deadline of last night.

There are two side of a story to any breakup.

David Sloane, who represents Delgado, says he was told yesterday that if the slugger signed with Texas, he would be a DH most of the time. A shock to Delgado and Sloane.

"From the first conversation with the Rangers, we made it crystal clear that Carlos had no interest in being a full-time DH," Sloane told The Associated Press last night. "If we had 25 conversations with the Rangers, we were told in 24 that the question of him playing first was not an issue.

"Then we were told that is changing and that 75% of his at-bats, would be as a DH."

Hicks was lusting after Delgado's services this week telling people "you know he's hit a homer every eight at-bats in our park."

Delgado homers once every 15 at-bats everywhere else.

"After three months of negotiations, we were given less than five hours to tell them yes, to make a decision that affects not only the rest of Carlos's baseball career, but the rest of his life."

The Orioles, the Marlins and the Mets also have made four-year offers. On the Rangers' side of the story is the fact they wanted a yes-or-no answer on what has turned out to be a take-it-or-leave-it offer.

"We could not get a commitment, so we are withdrawing from discussions with him, after making a very strong offer to Carlos," Hart said. "We had a great meeting on Friday and exceeded the limits of our initial proposal."

The Orioles have been talking with Sloane since the winter meetings and the Marlins remain interested.

The Mets were Caribbean visitors last week with Jeff Wilpon, son of owner Fred Wilpon, and general manager Omar Minaya in the travelling squad.

Initially, the Marlins ($36 million) and Mets ($34 million) made three-year offers. But all three teams have since made four-year offers.

Delgado has watched other free agents sign.

The Seattle Mariners gave Adrian Beltre a five-year, $64-million deal and Richie Sexson a four-year $50-million contract. The other free agent corner infielder to sign was third baseman Troy Glaus, who went to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a four-year, $45-million deal.

Even though he has better career numbers than all three, Delgado is at least two years older.

Where should Delgado go?

Well, we haven't been asked but for out two cents, the place for Delgado to stay is the AL. He knows the pitching.

The problem with signing a four-year deal with either the Marlins or the revamped Mets, is what happens down the road? Delgado is 32. How many years does he have left at first base?

Then what happens in the NL? He would have to be dealt, for they can't shuttle him to DH the way the Orioles can. Upon further review we think the Orioles are the best fit.


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