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PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Phillies are expected to offer free agent slugger Jim Thome a multiyear contract Tuesday that by all indications will carry an average annual value of $15million.
An offer of five years and $75 million is a safe bet for the Phillies to throw at Thome, who would provide RBI, blue-collar leadership and increased ticket sales.
Such figures are not unheard of for a slugging first baseman.
In November 1998, the Anaheim Angels signed Mo Vaughn, then at the top of his game, to a six-year, $80 million contract. Average annual value: $13.3 million.
In October 2000, the Toronto Blue Jays gave Carlos Delgado a four-year, $68 million contract extension. Average annual value: $17 million.
In December 2000, the Houston Astros gave Jeff Bagwell a five-year, $85 million contract extension. Average annual value: $17 million.
In March 2001, the Colorado Rockies extended Todd Helton's contract for nine years and $141.5 million. Average annual value: $15.7million.
And last winter, the New York Yankees scored Jason Giambi for seven years and $120 million. Average annual value: $17.1 million.
The Cleveland Indians reportedly opened their effort to retain Thome by offering a four-year deal worth about $11 million a season. But Thome's ties to Cleveland are strong, and that could overcome any financial incentive to go elsewhere.
If the Phillies were to bat 1.000 and sign their top three free agent desires - Thome, pitcher Tom Glavine and third baseman David Bell - they would lose their first three draft picks next season.
It's a price general manager Ed Wade is willing to pay.
"You don't want to interrupt the flow of development," Wade said. "But at the same time, if you're willing to trade good prospects to help your team, then you have to be willing to lose potential draft picks that could someday become the same type of prospect."
BRAVES: Pitching coach Leo Mazzone will return to the team next season.
Mazzone, 54, has been on manager Bobby Cox's coaching staff since the middle of the 1990 season, and his pitching staffs have produced six Cy Young Award winners for the Braves, who have finished first or second in ERA every season since 1992.
GM MEETINGS: The general managers meetings begin today in Tucson, Ariz., and run through Thursday. In addition to talking about signings and trades, GMs will discuss rules, policy and the state of the game.
One agenda item will be the number - and age - of batboys that are allowed in the dugout during games. This became an issue during the World Series when Darren Baker, the 3-year-old son of former San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker, was nearly trampled at the plate while retrieving a bat in Game 5.
General managers also will review the new collective-bargaining agreement. Part of that agreement includes language on how uniforms should be worn.
Bob Watson, baseball's dean of discipline, said players no longer would be allowed to pull their pants bottoms over their shoe tops. Overly baggy pants are also out.
The general managers also are expected to discuss the possibility of expanding the first round of the playoffs to best-of-seven.
ALL-STARS: Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi hit back-to-back homers twice Saturday in the major-league all-stars' 8-1 exhibition win over the Japan Series champion Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo.
Bonds and Giambi had consecutive home runs in the first and fifth innings for the all-stars, who begin a seven-game series against Japan's best players today.
"I couldn't let Barry show me up," Giambi said. "He hit another one; I had to, too. I'm just trying to follow him and do what he does."
REDS / BASEBALL
Bowden mum regarding free agent wish list
Reds Q & A
Phils set to spend on Thome
BENGALS / NFL
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Bengals' defense will need to step up once again
Isolation booth: Johnson vs. Demps
Levi: Life as a Rookie
Bengals, Ravens stats
Bengals-Ravens by the numbers
NFL notebook, standings
Are you ready for some Monday Night Football history?
Curnutte's NFL power rankings
OHIO FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Elder, Colerain at Nippert Saturday
Where to buy football tickets
Elder 31, Wayne 3
Colerain 28, Lebanon 7
Ohio scores | Ohio pairings
Fans enjoy atmosphere at Paul Brown Stadium
Kings 36, Edgewood 19
Reading 41, Coldwater 38
KENTUCKY FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Kentucky scores | Kentucky pairings
CovCath 54, Harrison Co. 6
Beechwood 55, Fairview 7
Boone Co. 34, Oldham Co. 28
Dixie Heights 43, Lou. Ballard 41
Eastern 22, Conner 7
Highlands 56, Anderson Co. 0
Holy Cross 35, Nicholas Co. 14
Lex. Catholic 52, Holmes 20
Lloyd 51, East Carter 20
Louisville Trinity 48, Ryle 9
NewCath 57, Paris 14
Russell 31, Newport 14
Scott 53, Bourbon Co. 22
INDIANA FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
East Central 38, Whiteland 30
OHIO VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ursuline unseats St. Ursula as Div. I champs
GGCL players rule all-state team
OHIO SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
St. Ursula loses soccer final
Wyoming girls denied soccer title
Madeira boys win state title
KENTUCKY CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
St. Henry boys take cross country title
Highlands girls run to state title
PREP INSIDER COLUMN
Prep Insider: Late coach was ahead of his time
Sloppy UC still slams NKU
Daugherty: Wrath - not grapes - seems more Huggins' style
Center position still work in progress
UC women win C-USA soccer crown
Cole ponders redshirt season
XU women win exhibition
With backs to wall, Buckeyes battle to 11-0
Hail Mary heave halts fun for UK
Bowen corners market at Miami
Huskies stun BGSU, take first in division
Mount St. Joseph thumped by undefeated Hanover 49-14
Miami crushes Vols
Texas shows Baylor some attitude
Texas A&M ruins party for Sooners
Irish escape Navy
Syracuse topples No. 8 Virginia Tech in 3OT
Big Ten roundup
Top 25 roundup
How the Top 25 fared
College Football Today
Hoops: Big matchups come early, often
Dayton player's parents don't believe son lied
MSJ football finally growling
Five questions with Brandon Miree
Enquirer Page Two power rankings
Dredge leads Volvo Masters
Mighty Ducks blank Barons
Kolzig slams door on Flyers
Second-half scoring surge lifts Pacers over Raptors
Women's soccer: U.S. 2, Canada 1
Serena Williams, Capriati advance to WTA semis
Will Fittipaldi be first of new wave of drivers?
Stewart on cusp of Cup title
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