Second baseman Kaz Matsui finalized a $16.5 million, three-year contract with the Houston Astros on Sunday, a little more than a month after helping the Colorado Rockies to their first World Series appearance.
The switch hitter batted .288 with four homers and 37 RBI for Colorado, stealing 32 bases and scoring 84 runs -- his best totals in the majors. Houston stole only 65 bases this year, the third-lowest in the NL.
Astros General Manager Ed Wade said Matsui, 32, likely will bat second, behind speedy center fielder Michael Bourn, acquired last month from Philadelphia.
Matsui gets a $1.5 million signing bonus, payable upon approval, and yearly salaries of $5 million. Houston will provide a translator and a physical therapist.
In addition, the Astros offered arbitration to free agents Trever Miller and Mark Loretta, but not to pitcher Jason Jennings and infielder Mike Lamb. The Astros also declined to offer arbitration to righthanded reliever Brian Moehler, pinch hitter Orlando Palmeiro and Craig Biggio, who retired after 20 seasons.Etc.
• Sammy Sosa wasn't offered salary arbitration by the Texas Rangers, who still might be interested in bringing back the slugger. Sosa, 39, hit .252 with a team-high 21 home runs and 92 RBI in 114 games for Texas following a year out of baseball. He became a part-time player after joining the 600-homer club, starting only 19 of the last 56 games while the Rangers evaluated younger players.