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His good work is rewarded

Carpenter and Cardinals agree

St. Louis Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty looked at the price of pitching on the free agent market and decided to throw his money at a guy he already had.

The Cardinals announced a five-year deal with 2005 National League Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter yesterday, locking him up through the 2011 season for about $65 million. The deal also includes a club option for 2012 that would bring the total value to $77 million.

"It was important for us to show what we think of him," Jocketty said on the first day of baseball's winter meetings, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Carpenter was 15-8 with a 3.09 ERA last season, finishing third in Cy Young balloting and helping the Cardinals win their first World Series title in 24 years. He was 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA in five postseason starts, including the clincher in the division series against the Padres and eight shutout innings in Game 3 of the World Series against the Tigers.

"This is a place you're going to have an opportunity to win every year," Carpenter said during a conference call. "Winning the World Series is the best feeling I've ever had playing sports. I'd love to do it again."

Guillen now a Mariner
The Mariners and Jose Guillen agreed on a one-year, $5.5 million contract with a $9 million mutual option for 2008, giving Seattle a starting right fielder and a dangerous bat in the middle of the order. Guillen missed much of the 2006 season following reconstructive surgery on his right elbow. The 30-year-old batted .216 in 69 games last season during his second year with the Nationals, hitting nine home runs with 40 RBIs before his elbow injury. Guillen can earn up to $3 million in performance bonuses. He will take over right field from Ichiro Suzuki, who is moving to center . . . The Giants filled out their infield, agreeing to an $8 million, two-year contract with first baseman Rich Aurilia and a $5.1 million, one-year deal with third baseman Pedro Feliz. Second baseman Ray Durham was re-signed to a two-year, $14.5 million contract last Friday, and 11-time Gold Glove shortstop Omar Vizquel is signed through the 2007 season. "It's a good infield," new manager Bruce Bochy said. "These guys have played together. They know each other. It's nice getting both Pedro and Ray back."

Bonds on SF radar
Giants general manager Brian Sabean said at the winter meetings that San Francisco is seriously interested in bringing back Barry Bonds, despite the notion the club might prefer to part ways with the aging slugger. The team has been exchanging offers with Bonds's agent, Jeff Borris. "I don't know where the story line came from that we didn't want him back," Sabean said. "We've had a long-standing conversation and offer out there that we've adjusted a number of times. Because we were pursuing other players didn't mean we weren't interested in Barry. We're trying to put the best team on the field and sign other people also." . . . Major League Baseball will pay tribute to the civil rights movement with an exhibition game between the Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians in Memphis March 31.

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