The New York Yankees came calling on Eric Milton, willing to peel some bills out of their bulging money clip. The big-budget Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers also were interested...

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CINCINNATI — The New York Yankees came calling on Eric Milton, willing to peel some bills out of their bulging money clip. The big-budget Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers also were interested in adding the left-hander to their playoff-caliber teams.


In the end, he made a surprising choice: the small-market Cincinnati Reds.


Milton agreed to a $25.5 million, three-year deal yesterday with a team that was late into the bidding and seemed an unlikely match for a pitcher who yearns to get back to the playoffs.


“I wouldn’t be sitting here today if I didn’t think we have a real chance of winning,” Milton said.


The Reds think so, too, and were willing to structure his contract so he can leave if they don’t win during his first two seasons. Milton got $4 million for signing and base salaries of $4 million in 2005, $8.5 million in 2006 and $9 million in 2007.


After the 2006 season, Milton has the option of staying for the final year of the deal or going somewhere else.


Milton, 29, was Philadelphia’s most consistent starter last season, going 14-6 with a 4.75 earned-run average.


Hollandsworth, Cubs agree to 1-year deal


CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs agreed to a $900,000, one-year deal with outfielder Todd Hollandsworth, avoiding arbitration.


“I fell in love with the city, the team and the organization,” said Hollandsworth, a 31-year-old who went to Newport High School in Bellevue. “You have this dying passion to help this team get over the top and help them get back to the World Series.”


The former NL rookie of the year did his part this year, his first in Chicago, until an injury ended his season on June 27. He hit .318 with eight homers in 57 games.


Hollandsworth’s season ended early after he fouled a pitch off his right shin, leaving him with a deep bruise and a stress fracture. The injury is completely healed, Hollandsworth said. He has been given medical clearance to play, and is back running and cross-training. By meeting incentives, he could earn up to $1.7 million.




Notes


* Baseball brought Felipe and Moises Alou together more than a decade ago in Montreal, and now father and son are reunited again.


The San Francisco Giants finalized a two-year contract with Moises, meaning he will again play for his father, manager Felipe. The deal is worth $13.25 million and includes a player option for the 2006 season. An agreement was reached last week, but was pending until 38-year-old Moises passed a physical.


* The champion Boston Red Sox and the Anaheim Angels must pay luxury tax along with the New York Yankees, according to figures compiled by the commissioner’s office.


The Yankees are required to pay $25,026,352. Boston owes $3,155,234 for exceeding the payroll threshold of $120.5 million and Anaheim got a bill for $927,059.


* Pitcher Odalis Perez said he is interested in talking with Omar Minaya, general manager of the New York Mets. Perez, 27, was 7-6 for Los Angeles last season.


* Doug Ault, who hit two home runs in the first game in Toronto Blue Jays history in 1977, died at his home in Tarpon Springs, Fla., team officials said. Ault was 54.