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Thursday, December 23, 2004
Drew played in career-high 145 games last year

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Outfielder J.D. Drew and the Los Angeles Dodgers finalized a $55 million, five-year contract on Thursday.

"J.D. is a bona fide offensive force in the prime of his career," Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta said. "He's one of the most complete players in the majors and we expect him to be a cornerstone of the Dodgers for years to come."

Drew, 29, helped the Atlanta Braves win the NL East last season and was sixth in the NL MVP voting.

He played in a career-high 145 games for the Braves last season, hitting .305 and setting career highs with 31 homers, 128 runs and 118 walks. He also had 93 RBI and 12 outfield assists.

Drew had never played in more than 135 games in a season before last year because of injuries. His best prior season was in 2001, when he hit .323 with 27 homers and 73 RBI in 109 games for the St. Louis Cardinals.

He played six seasons with the Cardinals before he was dealt to the Braves last December along with catcher-outfielder Eli Marrero for pitchers Jason Marquis, Ray King and Adam Wainwright.

Drew will receive a $2 million signing bonus and a $9 million salary next season. He will earn $11 million annually in the final four seasons.

The left handed-hitting Drew is expected to play right field for the Dodgers. That would put Shawn Green at first base, assuming he's not traded. Green played first base for the most part last year, his first season at that position.