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Old 12-07-2002, 02:39 AM  
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Dutton: Mets believed to be interested in acquiring Randa; Byrd talks continue

Mets believed to be interested in acquiring Randa

By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Posted on Sat, Dec. 07, 2002

Royals third baseman Joe Randa could still be heading to New York, even though the Yankees are no longer interested after agreeing to terms earlier this week with Robin Ventura.

Several newspapers in the New York area are reporting that the Mets plan to pursue a trade for Randa if, as expected, they choose not to offer arbitration to Edgardo Alfonzo by tonight's deadline.

Royals general manager Allard Baird declined comment on a possible trade with the Mets but acknowledged he has been engaged "in active discussions" with teams regarding Randa.

"Is anything imminent?" Baird said. "No."

Alfonzo, 29, made $6.2 million last season when he batted .308 with 16 homers and 56 RBIs in 135 games. Arbitration could push his salary to more than $8 million.

Randa, 32, is under contract through next season at $4.5 million if he remains with the Royals, but his contract jumps to $5.5 million if he gets traded. He batted .282 last season with 11 homers and 80 RBIs in 151 games.

The Giants are also believed to be interested in Randa as a replacement for David Bell, who signed a free-agent contract with the Phillies.

Byrd talks continue

The Royals continued contract talks Friday with free-agent pitcher Paul Byrd on the eve of tonight's deadline to offer arbitration or surrender negotiating rights until May 1.

The club is almost certain to offer arbitration unless the two sides reach agreement before the midnight deadline.

By offering arbitration, the Royals can buy themselves at least 13 more days of negotiating time because Byrd doesn't have to accept or reject the offer until Dec. 19.

Tucker to Japan?

Sankei Sports in Japan reports the Hanshin Tigers are pondering a $3 million offer for outfielder Michael Tucker.

If so, it's news to the Royals.

"I have not heard anything about that," Baird said with a chuckle when apprised of the report.

It might be worth investigating since such a deal would generate a $5.75 million windfall for the cash-strapped Royals because of Tucker's $2.75 million salary for 2003.

On the rebound

Given the Royals' penchant for reacquiring players -- Tucker, Randa, Brent Mayne, etc. -- it isn't surprising that club officials perked up earlier this week when the Cubs released infielder Chris Stynes.

"We're looking more along other avenues at this point," Baird said, "but I wouldn't rule that out."

Stynes, 29, played for the Royals in 1995-96 and could be available at less than his 2002 salary of $1.25 million. He batted just .241 last season in 98 games but has a .286 career average in eight seasons.

Stynes can play second and third, two potential problem spots, and offers an alternative to Tucker as the leadoff hitter.

The Royals appear to have no interest in bringing back infielder Rey Sanchez, who played 377 games for the club from 1999 to 2001. Sanchez, 35, is seeking a raise over the $700,000 he made last season in Boston, when he batted .286 in 107 games.

"I don't see that happening," Baird said. "We're having to decrease payroll. We're not in the mode to add payroll."

Surprise opening

Owner David Glass will head a contingent of top club officials today at the grand opening of the Royals' new spring-training home in Surprise, Ariz.

The Royals have a 20-year lease to share the $48.3 million facility with the Texas Rangers.
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Old 12-08-2002, 06:25 PM   #2
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