Tuesday, February 11, 2003
Updated: March 14, 4:51 PM ET
Simon agrees to $1,475,000 deal with Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH -- First baseman Randall Simon avoided
arbitration Tuesday by agreeing to a one-year contract with the
Pittsburgh Pirates worth $1,475,000.
Simon, acquired from the Detroit Tigers on Nov. 25, was the
Pirates' last remaining arbitration-eligible player. He had filed
for $1.85 million, while the Pirates had offered $1.3 million.
Simon made $285,000 last season, when he was voted the Tigers'
MVP. Under his new deal, he could make an extra
$100,000 in incentives: $25,000 each for 520, 550, 575 and 600
Both sides wanted to work out a contract before Simon's
arbitration case was scheduled to be heard Feb. 19.
The 27-year-old Simon led the Tigers with 19 homers, 82 RBI and
a .459 slugging percentage last season, although he walked only 13
times in 130 games. Despite being a free swinger, he struck out
only 30 times in 482 at-bats.
Simon has a .305 career average with 30 homers and 149 RBI in
321 games with the Braves and Tigers. He spent the last two seasons
with Detroit before being dealt to the Pirates for three minor
league players, including left-hander Adrian Burnside.
The left-handed hitting Simon is expected to get most of the
playing time at first base, with holdover Kevin Young starting
mostly against left-handers. The Pirates hope Simon will provide an
extra left-handed power threat to complement Brian Giles, the
team's only legitimate power threat last season.
Simon and outfielder Matt Stairs were the Pirates' two major
offseason additions among position players. They also added starter
Jeff Suppan, Kansas City's No. 2 starter last year, and reliever
Simon visited Pittsburgh last weekend and will report to spring
training next week. The Pirates open training camp for pitchers and
catchers Friday in Bradenton, Fla.
"I'm happy to be here and I'm looking forward to getting to
know my new teammates," Simon said.
Especially after some of his old Tigers teammates suggested they
were glad that changes were made following their 106-loss season of
a year ago.
Catcher Brandon Inge suggested the Tigers needed to make changes
because some of the team's departed players ``didn't care.''
Outfielder Bobby Higginson and third baseman Dean Palmer also made
"As a player, you don't want to hear that," Simon said last
weekend during the Pirates' annual offseason fan festival. "I know
those things happen, but it's tough to hear they would say
something like that."