Mondesi signs with Angels for $1.75 million
May 28, 2004
By ENRIQUE ROJAS
Raul Mondesi said he signed a US$1.75 million contract with the Anaheim Angels on Friday for the rest of the season.
The Dominican outfielder told The Associated Press that he would make his debut in center field on Sunday against the Chicago White Sox. "I'm very pleased with the agreement I reached with the Angels," Mondesi said.
Anaheim's upper management proposed sending him to the minors to get in shape before being sent up, but he said he rejected the request.
"I'm in shape. I have been training everyday in a park close to my home," Mondesi said.
The Pittsburgh Pirates recently terminated Mondesi's contract after he left them May 7 to return home to the Dominican Republic. At the time, Mondesi said he was fearful for his family's safety as he fights a lawsuit by former major leaguer Mario Guerrero.
Mondesi cleared waivers May 21, making him a free agent. He had said that other teams were interested in signing him, including the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles.
The Angels, tied with the Red Sox for the best record in U.S. Major League Baseball, are without regulars Garret Anderson, Tim Salmon, Darin Erstad and Troy Glaus, who are on the disabled list. Still, they lead the American League in runs scored and batting average.
On May 19, the Pirates cited breach of contract in ending all dealings with Mondesi. He was hitting .283 with two homers and 14 RBIs when he left.
Mondesi was paid approximately US$192,000 of his US$1.75 million contract before leaving, and the Pirates are not required to pay him any more. He was due a US$600,000 buyout if the team did not pick up his US$8 million option for 2005 but he left voluntarily.
Mondesi, 33, made US$13 million last season with the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks. He is a career .276 hitter with 266 homers and 842 RBIs in 12 seasons.
In his suit, Guerrero said Mondesi promised him 1 percent of his major league earnings for helping develop his skills.
Mondesi argued he didn't meet Guerrero until his career was well advanced. A Dominican court ruled in February that Mondesi owes Guerrero about US$640,000, and Mondesi is appealing.
The next hearing is scheduled for June 19.