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Monday, December 11, 2000
RHP Dreifort agrees to five-year deal with Dodgers

By John Torenli SportsTicker Staff Writer

DALLAS (Ticker) -- Apparently, super agent Scott Boras was not too busy negotiating Alex Rodriguez's monster deal to work out a nice little five-year, reported $55-million pact for righthander Darren Dreifort.

Dreifort today agreed to terms on the lucrative deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, returning to the team that weaned him over the previous six seasons. As Day 4 of the Winter Meetings progressed, the only thing most media members were concerned with was when superstar shortstop Rodriguez was going to take the podium at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel and announce that he had in fact signed a 10-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

But Boras, who continually refuses to acknowledge that a deal has been reached for Rodriguez, was not ignoring Dreifort's needs. Instead, he seemed to take the extra time needed to make the 28-year-old one of the highest-paid pitchers in the game -- the top-two, Los Angeles' Kevin Brown and Colorado's Mike Hampton, are also Boras clients.

Boras got Hampton an unprecented eight-year, $123.8 million contract on Friday and today, he got Dreifort his bundle not for previous achievements but for the 6-2, 211-pounder's tremendous untapped potential.

He will join a staff anchored by Brown and filled out with himself, Andy Ashby, who signed a three-year, $22.5 million deal on Friday, Chan Ho Park and budding righthander Eric Gagne.

"Signing Darren has been our No. 1 priority since the season ended," Dodgers general manager Kevin Malone said. "He has displayed tremendous ability and development and has the potential to be a No. 1 starter in the future. He is a homegrown talent with a strong connection to our community and organization. With the additon of Andy Ashby, Darren was the most logical fit to solidify this rotation that also features Kevin Brown and Chan Ho Park." After spending his first three seasons as a reliever, Dreifort has become a formidable starter with intimidating stuff. He is coming off a 12-9 season in which he posted a 4.16 ERA while striking out 164 in 192 2/3 innings.

Dreifort's career mark of 39-45 is made more impressive when you consider that he lost nine of his first 10 career decisions as a reliever. He is also a formidable hitter, belting three homers last season, inlcuding two against the Chicago Cubs on August 8.

Ironically, Dreifort was the second player selected in the 1993 first-year player draft behind Rodriguez, who the Dodgers tinkered with acquiring earlier this offeseason before dropping out of the continually growing sweepstakes.