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January 28, 2005
Being named Carlos during the month of January is apparently a very lucrative prospect.
Puerto Ricos two other Carloses found new teams this week, following on the heels of newly signed New York Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran.
Carlos Delgado ended the waiting game Tuesday evening when he said yes to the Florida Marlins to the tune of four years, $52 million. The Mets, hoping to land a second Carlos in their lineup, reportedly had offered Delgado the same deal, but with more bonuses. Sources say Delgado didnt like the ultimatum he was given by Mets GM Omar Minaya.
The islands third sports star named Carlos, this one Arroyo, also found a new team, getting dealt from the Utah Jazz to the NBA defending champion Detroit Pistons.
Delgado was courted by four teams in the past two weeks, the Mets, the Texas Rangers, the Marlins and the Orioles, but he finally decided on the Marlins because he said he believed they had a shot at a title.
"Its a great deal for a lot of reasons," Delgado said after making the announcement. "First, we reached an agreement with a team I like and one that I think has a good chance of winning. Second, we reached an agreement where I am happy and they [Marlins management] are happy."
Delgado does not have a no-trade clause in his contract. However, the Marlins have an option for a fifth year that would bring the total package up to $64 million.
"Now its time to play ball," said Delgado, who added that despite having played his entire 12-year major league career in Toronto, he wasnt worried about switching leagues. "I guess theres a learning curve until you get used to the league, but baseball is baseball."
Nor was Delgado worried about giving up the chance to play occasionally at DH.
"I take great pride in being in great shape and playing every day and I dont think thats going to affect me," said Delgado. "On the contrary, its a new challenge. If you look at my record, I havent played many games as designated hitter."
With Delgado now in Florida, the Mets will continue to shop for a first baseman.
"I feel confident that we can fill that slot, hopefully, within the next 24 hours," Minaya told The New York Times.
Meanwhile, down in Utah, Carlos Arroyo finally got his much sought-after trade this week, being dealt to Detroit for a first-round draft pick and Elden Campbell. So far, it looks like Detroit got the better end of the bargain. The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Utah released Campbell. Should Campbell clear waivers on Friday, the Pistons could bring him back.
In another of lifes ironies, Arroyo played for a winning team for the first time in more than a month this week when the Pistons snapped a four-game losing streak with an 87-70 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Arroyo scored 12 points off the bench, his best effort in his first three games.
Arroyo is back to his old self, playing for the same coach he gave headaches to during the 2004 Olympics. Detroit coach Larry Brown, in charge of the U.S. team in Athens, watched helplessly from the bench during that fateful first-round game in which Puerto Rico beat the U.S. team. Brown is glad to have him.
"Larry is much more easygoing as a coach with his players. Jerry [Sloan] was quieter. The two organizations are very different, but mostly I feel much happier. To be with a team that wants you and shows you how much they want you makes you feel good," said Arroyo during a conference call with the media from Puerto Rico.
Arroyo said hes still learning and adjusting to Detroits system.
"Im trying to get used to their offense and defense. In Utah, if the ball was in the paint, Jerry expected us to leave our man and go in and help. Here, you stay with your man," said Arroyo. "In Utah we had one play and that play had different options. Here its a set offense by number and Im trying to focus on that."
Arroyo said Brown took him aside already and told him he wasnt going to cut the Puerto Rican point guard any breaks.
"He told me he wasnt going to be easy on me because he was a point guard but he told me he would let me play my game," said Arroyo. "He also told me he knows how sensitive we Puerto Ricans are so he told me not to take stuff personally."
As for his minutes thus far, Arroyo said it felt good to have the ball in his hands again.
He said so far he understands his role is to run the fast break coming off the bench. With Richard Hamilton sitting with a bruised right thigh, Arroyo might get even more minutes tonight.
"I dont know whether Ill play more, thats up to the coach," said Arroyo. "Im going to be playing different now because Im with a new team, but they know how I play and they know I like to run a lot and they told me they expect that from me."
Arroyo said hes prepared to make adjustments.
"Im coming into an established team and my role is very different from when I was in Utah," said Arroyo. "Larry already told me Id be backup and he told me Id be with [Chauncey] Billups. But I have to adjust to the team and not the other way around. As far as Im concerned they can play me whenever and wherever they want to, Im just so relieved they communicate with me."
Such was not the case in Arroyos last month with the Jazz. Iced out by Jerry Sloan, Arroyo withered away on the bench, and lost his confidence.
Arroyos contract with the Jazz stipulated he be paid $4 million over four years with no raises.
Mayaguez wins 15th WL title
Mako Oliveras Mayaguez Indios sewed up a Puerto Rican Winter League record 15th title this week as Indios pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo, just 22, threw a three-hit shutout for a 10-0 victory over the Carolina Gigantes in Game 8 of the WL finals. Albaladejo allowed just three hits, no walks and fanned six. Mayaguez heads now to the Caribbean Series in Mazatlan, Mexico, Feb. 1-7. The Indios can add up to 10 players from other teams in the league before making the trip.
Gabrielle Paese is a sports reporter in San Juan. She was the 2000 recipient of the Overseas Press Club's Rafael Pont Flores Award for excellence in sports reporting. Comments or suggestions? Contact Gabrielle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her Column, Puerto Rico Sports Beat, appears weekly in the Puerto Rico Herald.