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D-Backs keep Counsell for three years

1/9/2002

PHOENIX -- Infielder Craig Counsell, an important component
in Arizona's march through the playoffs, agreed Wednesday to a
$7.25 million, three-year contract with the World Series champion
Diamondbacks.

The deal includes club options for 2005 and 2006. Those options
plus performance bonuses could make the contract worth up to $18.5
million over five years.

Counsell established career highs in almost every offensive
category last season and was named most valuable player in the
National League championship series Atlanta, when he batted .381
(8-for-21) in five games.

Counsell, who also played shortstop and third base, replaced Jay
Bell as the starting second baseman in September and hit safely in
25 of his last 27 regular-season games.

He played in 141 games, batting .275 with 38 RBI.

Counsell, 31, was out of a job after he was cut by the Los
Angeles Dodgers in the spring of 2000. He began that season with
Arizona's Triple-A team in Tucson, then was called up by the
Diamondbacks.

"He proved to be a vital part of our championship run last
year, highlighted by his MVP performance in the NLCS," general
manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said. "Craig is a consummate
professional who takes preparation to the next level. He reports to
work on a daily basis not knowing where he'll bat in the lineup or
play defensively, yet he makes a valuable contribution nearly
everyday."

Counsell is the only Diamondback player with two World Series
rings. He scored the winning run in Game 7 for Florida in the 1997
series.

He gets a $50,000 signing bonus, $1.5 million this year, $2.3
million in 2003 and $3.15 million in 2004. The Diamondbacks have a
$3.75 million option for 2005 with a $250,000 buyout, but they must
exercise it after the 2003 season to get that price. If they wait
until after 2004, the option price for 2005 would increase to $4.25
million.

If they exercise the option after 2003, they would get an
additional option for 2006 at $4.25 million.

Counsell could also earn an additional $500,000 in performance
bonuses in 2003 and $1 million in each of the remaining years of
the contract.