Giles, Braves agree, avoid arbitration
Published: Friday, January 21, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 21, 2005 at 12:10 a.m.
ATLANTA - Second baseman Marcus Giles skipped salary arbitration by agreeing Thursday to a $2.35 million, one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves.
Giles received a big raise from the $430,000 he made last season. Eligible for arbitration for the first time, he had asked for $2.7 million while the Braves had offered $2.05 million.
With the signing of Giles, pitcher Kevin Gryboski is the Braves' only player in arbitration who has yet to settle. The right-handed reliever has requested $975,000, while the Braves are proposing $780,000.
Giles' contract also includes $25,000 bonuses for reaching both 550 and 600 plate appearances.
The 26-year-old infielder batted .311 last season, with eight homers, 48 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. He missed 52 games after breaking his right collarbone in a collision with Andruw Jones.
In 2003, Giles was voted to start the All-Star game, though he couldn't play because of a concussion. He had his best season, hitting .316 with 21 homers, 69 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.
It's been a busy week for the Braves. They agreed to one-year contracts with shortstop Rafael Furcal, closer Dan Kolb and reliever Chris Reitsma on Monday, then agreed to a deal with free-agent outfielder Brian Jordan on Wednesday.
The fourth pick in the draft last June, Niemann agreed to terms Thursday on a major league contract worth $5.2 million over five years, including a $3.2 million signing bonus.
The 6-foot-9, 260-pound right-hander will earn $100,000 in the minors this year. If he makes a quicker-than-expected transition from college to the majors, he'd make $316,000.
Niemann is just eager to get started after spending the past seven months working out in his hometown of Houston, trying to stay in shape. He said he never doubted he'd wind up with the Devil Rays.
''I knew things were going to work out,'' Niemann said, adding that he never seriously considered returning to Rice for his senior season and re-entering the draft. ''It was just a matter of time.''
Niemann went 28-4 with a 2.41 ERA in three seasons at Rice, including 17-0 to tie an NCAA Division I record and help the Owls win the College World Series in 2003. He was 6-3 with three saves and a 3.02 ERA in 17 games for the Owls in 2004, allowing just 59 hits in 80 1-3 innings while striking out 94 and holding opponents to a .207 batting average.
A day after likening the team to ''terrorists,'' Florida Senate President Tom Lee backed off that word but said he was angry the Marlins have talked to officials in Nevada about a possible move to Las Vegas. The Marlins' lease at the Miami Dolphins' stadium expires after the 2010 season, and Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga says it won't be renewed.
''They're trying to blackmail us,'' Lee said. ''If it becomes a question of which community wants the team bad enough, and which community is willing to pay the highest price for the sports team, you can count me out.''
The Marlins want a 38,000-seat, retractable roof stadium.
''I would like for the Marlins to decide where they want to play baseball in the future and if it's in Florida, I'll try to help them, but if they want to play in Las Vegas, I'll come down and help them pack,'' Lee said. ''That was a threat and it offended me. I feel like they're trying to put a gun to our head and I think they ought to revisit that strategy.''
Marlins president David Samson sent House Speaker Allan Bense a letter asking for state help in passing a bill that failed to gain approval last year. The plan would raise $2 million a year for 30 years in what's called a sales tax rebate.
''Our lease at Dolphins Stadium expires in December 2010. Our landlord has informed us that it will not, under any circumstances, extend or renew the current lease; thereby, giving the Marlins no place to play in South Florida after that time,'' Samson wrote.
The team says the state money would be the final link in its funding for a $360 million stadium. The Marlins plan to spend $192 million for stadium construction, and the team is working with the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County to raise the rest of the money.
Lee, citing the Las Vegas talks, told a Palm Beach Post reporter Wednesday, ''I don't negotiate with terrorists.'' On Thursday, he backed off the use of the word ''terrorists,'' but maintained he will not deal with the Marlins if they want to talk to other cities.
''That description or that term has sort of taken on a different meaning after 9-11, and I certainly don't mean to suggest that they're acting within the context of those kinds of things,'' Lee said. ''Blackmail's a great word.''
Samson wouldn't comment on the ''terrorist'' remark, choosing to express optimism about his dealings with Lee.
''We are working closely with the city and county to finish a deal so we can go to Tallahassee together this session to discuss completing the deal in its entirety,'' Samson said. ''We've met and spent time with the speaker of the House and the Senate president, and we're looking forward to doing more of that in the future.''
Comments are currently unavailable on this article