Major League Baseball is poised to cancel the move of the Montreal Expos to Washington after the District of Columbia Council on Tuesday amended the agreement for a riverfront...

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WASHINGTON — Major League Baseball is poised to cancel the move of the Montreal Expos to Washington after the District of Columbia Council on Tuesday amended the agreement for a riverfront stadium by requiring 50 percent private financing.

In a statement yesterday, Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer, said the amended legislation is “inconsistent with our carefully negotiated agreement and is wholly unacceptable.”

Business and promotional activities for the team, which was to be called the Nationals, have been suspended. Fans who bought tickets for games, which were to be played at RFK Stadium next season, can get refunds, DuPuy said. A news conference to unveil the Nationals’ uniforms was canceled.

Baseball’s action was triggered when the D.C. Council ratified an amendment proposed by chairwoman Linda Cropp that requires private financing for at least half of the cost of the new stadium. The council gave preliminary approval Nov. 30 to issue up to $531 million in bonds to pay for a new stadium and renovations to RFK Stadium, but needed final approval at Tuesday’s meeting.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who assured baseball a publicly financed stadium would be approved, said baseball’s return to D.C. was “in great jeopardy.”

Baseball will not consider options of relocating the team in another city until after the agreement with Washington expires Dec. 31, DuPuy said. That was the deadline set that required all details of the proposed stadium, including financing, be approved by the council.

The Washington Post reported that no games will be played at RFK Stadium next season if the ballpark deal dies.

Cropp said she is willing to drop her 50 percent private-financing amendment if baseball is willing to negotiate a deal that is more favorable to the city.

Renteria to Red Sox; Martinez finalizes deal

NEW YORK — Two days after losing Pedro Martinez, the Boston Red Sox lured All-Star shortstop Edgar Renteria from the St. Louis Cardinals with a $40 million, four-year contract.

After helping Boston sweep St. Louis in the World Series, Martinez accepted a $53 million, four-year contract with the New York Mets, who finalized the deal after the three-time Cy Young Award winner passed his physical.

Also yesterday, left-hander John Halama, a former Mariner, finalized a $1 million, one-year contract with the Red Sox; shortstop Craig Counsell returned to Arizona for $3 million over two seasons; Cincinnati agreed to one-year contracts with right-handers David Weathers ($1.35 million) and Ben Weber ($600,000); and St. Louis settled on $600,000, one-year deals with catcher Einar Diaz and right-hander Al Reyes.

In the day’s only trade, Oakland acquired infielder Keith Ginter from Milwaukee for right-hander Justin Lehr and outfielder Nelson Cruz. The Brewers also agreed to an $800,000, one-year contract with third baseman Russell Branyan, who was eligible for arbitration.

Also, the Yankees and Diamondbacks spoke about Randy Johnson for the second time in three days, though no new proposals were exchanged. New York and Carl Pavano moved closer to finalizing the right-hander’s $39.95 million, four-year contract, a deal that contains a $13 million team option for 2009.

New York and Jaret Wright agreed his $21 million, three-year contract will have a provision that gives the Yankees the right to void the third season if he has a serious shoulder injury during the first two years.

Renteria, who grounded to the pitcher for the final out of the World Series, agreed in principle to his deal with the Red Sox, which includes a team option for 2009. Renteria must pass a physical for the deal to be finalized.

Renteria’s brother, Edison, told The Associated Press that an agreement on the terms was reached Tuesday night.


• The San Francisco Giants released catcher A.J. Pierzynski, two days after signing three-time Gold Glove winner Mike Matheny as a free agent.

• Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley began serving a three-day jail sentence in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, for driving away while being issued a speeding ticket more than a year ago.

• Detroit Tigers outfielder Craig Monroe pleaded not guilty to shoplifting a $30 belt in Port Charlotte, Fla.