David Wells (search) is switching sides in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. The loud lefty known for his unabashed love of Yankees history agreed Saturday to an $8 million, two-year contract with Boston that could be worth up to $18 million over two years.
While there was no announcement, the agreement was confirmed by a Red Sox official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Wells gets a $3 million signing bonus and a salary of $2.5 million a year. In addition, he would earn $200,000 per start from 11-20 and $300,000 per start from 21-30.
His decision to go to Boston was a stunning turnaround for the 41-year-old pitcher, who spent four years with New York over two tours, then went 12-8 with a 3.73 ERA last season for his hometown San Diego Padres.
Boston, coming off its first World Series title since 1918, also hopes to re-sign Pedro Martinez (search) and Jason Varitek.
"I'm sure before all the players are off the board, there will be players for whom the price is right for the Boston Red Sox," Boston GM Theo Epstein said.
Wells' decision also could mean that Carl Pavano might wind up with the Yankees, who think they are nearing agreement with the right-hander on a four-year deal worth about $40 million.
As the winter meetings opened Friday, Russ Ortiz, Steve Finley and Richard Hidalgo found new teams, though there were no trades.
Arizona set the free-agent pace for the second straight day, agreeing to a $33 million, four-year contract with Ortiz in an effort to complement Randy Johnson in its starting rotation.
Finley, who started last season with the Diamondbacks and finished it with the Dodgers, moved down Interstate 5, agreeing to a $14 million, two-year contract with the Anaheim Angels.
Texas agreed to a $5 million, one-year deal with right fielder Richard Hidalgo, who split last season between Houston and the New York Mets. And the Florida Marlins reached preliminary agreements with relievers Antonio Alfonseca and Todd Jones.
As for the biggest names, agents appeared to be holding back, waiting for the market to rise even higher.
"When you look at last year's attendance growth, all those things put more money in the marketplace," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said.
Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, Varitek and Derek Lowe are represented by Scott Boras, whose clients have not reached deals until later in the offseason in recent years.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman expected to talk with Boras and with other top agents during the weekend, including Scott Shapiro, who represents Pavano. Cashman also said Yankees pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre and staff ace Mike Mussina were to have called Pavano in the past week.
"He just needs some time to see where his heart is," Shapiro said.
Anaheim, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit and Seattle also are competing for Pavano, who pretty much has ruled out returning to the Marlins.
"At this point in time, I'd say it's very slim," Shapiro said. "Ultimately, I don't know if they have the financial resources to compete as the market has matured to a certain level."
New York is close to an agreement with Jaret Wright on a $21 million, three-year deal, and Cashman would like to get at least one other starting pitcher this weekend. The Yankees also have been talking with Eric Milton.
Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Shawn Green have all been mentioned in trade talk, but it appears Johnson and Kevin Brown won't be going anywhere soon.
The Diamondbacks said Friday that while Johnson had asked them to explore trading him to a contender, they expect the 41-year-old left-hander will remain in Arizona. The Yankees pulled out of talks last week, saying Arizona's asking price was too high, and it's not clear whether the Big Unit would waive his no-trade clause to go anywhere else.
New Arizona chief executive officer Jeff Moorad said the talks were over and would not resume unless "they choose to re-engage." Cashman, in turn, said it was up to the Diamondbacks to call him.
Arizona, responsible for large amounts of deferred payments in past contracts and coming off an 111-loss season, was thought to be on a tight budget. But the Diamondbacks agreed Thursday to a $45 million, four-year deal with third baseman Troy Glaus, the 2002 World Series MVP with Anaheim. Then came the deal for Ortiz, a right-hander who went 15-9 with a 4.13 ERA for Atlanta but won just twice in his last 10 regular-season starts.
While the Diamondbacks tied for the 10th-most losses in major league history last season, Ortiz expects a quick turnaround.
"Winning's important. I wanted to be a part of what they're trying to accomplish," Ortiz said.
By adding the 39-year-old Finley, the Angels can move Garret Anderson to left field, where he played in 2002.
"Hey, I'm still in Los Angeles, right? Just wearing a different color," Finley said.
Finley, who turned down a $17 million, three-year offer from the Giants, was a key factor as the Dodgers advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1996. He hit .263 with 13 homers and 46 RBIs in 58 games after the July 31 trade, finishing at .271 overall with 36 homers and 94 RBIs.
"Once we took a look at it, we said, `This is a natural,'" Angels general manager Bill Stoneman said.