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Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Notebook: Beltran plans to continue recruiting Delgado

Major League Baseball

Carlos Beltran

NEW YORK — In the end, timing and tenacity played key roles in center fielder Carlos Beltran signing with the ambitious New York Mets instead of the powerful New York Yankees.

A no-trade clause in the seven-year, $119 million contract, a recruiting trip to Puerto Rico by Mets officials, and 31 consecutive days of phone calls didn't hurt, either.

Former Houston standout Beltran was welcomed by his new team yesterday, ending a whirlwind courtship that began as an unlikely flirtation and evolved into the richest deal in Mets history. Already he was looking ahead, talking about a recruiting call he placed Sunday to slugging first baseman Carlos Delgado.

"I talked to Carlos Delgado and I let him know my interest in him being part of the Mets," Beltran said. "I think it would be a great fit. If we're able to get something done with him, now you have to be really careful with the Mets."

The Mets are expected to be among the most fervent suitors for the 32-year-old Delgado's services, along with the Baltimore Orioles and Florida Marlins. Delgado averaged 38 home runs in the last seven seasons with Toronto.

For outfielder Beltran, 27, the contract was mostly about commitment.

"When I was in Kansas City I was always worried about being traded, for five years," he said. "When I was traded to Houston, it was not a good feeling. I didn't want to go through that anymore. I would not sign without a no-trade clause. I was looking for stability. The Mets said they would give me that stability."

And they said it repeatedly.

"Starting at Thanksgiving, they called me 31 straight days," agent Scott Boras recalled. "They checked in every day, asking where Carlos was at (in his thinking), saying they wanted Carlos. I would tell Carlos every day, 'The Mets called again.' And again. And again."

Newsday, citing an industry source, said Mike Cameron has informed the Mets he would rather play center field elsewhere than move to right field for them. Cameron, an ex-Mariners center fielder, is to make about $14 million over the next two seasons.

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The Mets, who signed former Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez to a $53 million, four-year contract last month, plan to launch a new regional-sports cable network next year.

Notes

• The Arizona Diamondbacks finalized their two lingering trades, sending pitcher Randy Johnson to the New York Yankees for Javier Vazquez, pitcher Brad Halsey, catcher Dioner Navarro and $9 million. Arizona then dealt Navarro to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with right-handers William Juarez, Danny Muegge and Beltran Perez for slugger Shawn Green and $10 million.

In addition, the Diamondbacks agreed with left-hander Shawn Estes on a $2.5 million, one-year contract and were close to trading infielder Shea Hillenbrand to Toronto. Arizona's manager is former Mariners manager Bob Melvin.

Green, who agreed to the trade after getting a $32 million, three-year contract that runs through 2007, said he was excited to join the Diamondbacks. "I couldn't be happier with the change for me," the 32-year-old said.

• Former Boston pitcher Derek Lowe finalized a $36 million, four-year contract with the Dodgers after Los Angeles completed the Green deal. Lowe, 31, pitched for the Mariners in 1997.

Lowe will join Odalis Perez, Brad Penny and Jeff Weaver in the Dodgers' rotation. Kazuhisa Ishii, Edwin Jackson and Wilson Alvarez are candidates to be the fifth starter.

• Left-hander Scott Schoeneweis, 31, previously with the Chicago White Sox, agreed to a two-year, $5.2 million contract with Toronto.

• Outfielder Juan Gonzalez, who helped Cleveland make the playoffs in 2001, agreed to a minor-league contract with the Indians that could pay him up to $2.55 million. Gonzalez, 35, played for Kansas City last season.

• Baltimore signed right-hander James Baldwin, 33, to a minor-league contract. He was with the Mets last year. Baldwin pitched for the Mariners in 2002.

• Philadelphia agreed to a $500,000, one-year contract with former Boston pitcher Terry Adams, 31.

• Houston reached agreement on a $1.3 million, one-year contract with infielder Mike Lamb, 29.

• The Mets agreed to a $3.7 million contract with right-hander Philip Humber, the third pick in the June draft.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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