Gonzalez's agent in Texas to meet with Rangers
Friday, January 4th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Juan Gonzalez's agent traveled to Texas on Thursday to meet with the Rangers.
Jeff Moorad, who had spoken with Mets general manager Steve Phillips earlier in the week, left California on Thursday afternoon and arrived in the Dallas area on Thursday evening, a lawyer familiar with the talks said on the condition of anonymity.
Rangers general manager John Hart did not return a telephone call seeking comment. Team spokesman John Blake said he was unaware of any meeting scheduled between Gonzalez and the Rangers.
Gonzalez, the top hitter remaining on the free-agent market, is thought to be seeking $10 million to $15 million a season for at least three years. If he signed with Texas, where he spent the first 11 seasons of his major league career, he would join an already-potent offense that includes Alex Rodriguez, Ivan Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro.
Texas was third in the American League with 890 runs and a .275 batting average last season, but the Rangers had a 5.71 ERA, the highest of any major league team.
To turn around its battered staff, the Rangers have signed four free-agent pitchers. Chan Ho Park agreed to a $65 million, five-year contract and Texas added three right-handed relievers: Jay Powell ($9 million over three years), Todd Van Poppel ($7.5 million over three years) and Dave Burba ($2 million for 2002).
Hart took a chance on Gonzalez after the 2000 season, signing the outfielder to a $10 million, one-year contract with the Cleveland Indians.
Following a poor season with Detroit, Gonzalez responded by hitting .325 with 35 homers and a team-high 140 RBIs.
Gonzalez, 32, won the AL MVP award with the Rangers in 1996 and 1998. Knowing he was a year from free-agent eligibility, the Rangers traded him to Detroit on Nov. 2, 1999, along with Danny Patterson, and Gregg Zaun in exchange for Justin Thompson, Alan Webb, Francisco Cordero, Gabe Kapler, Bill Haselman and Frank Catalanotto.