Lilly, Cubs agree to $40 million deal

December 7th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Lilly, Cubs agree to $40 million deal


Associated Press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Left-hander Ted Lilly and the Chicago Cubs reached a preliminary agreement Wednesday night on a four-year contract worth about $40 million.
"He's a Cub and wants to be part of getting them back to the World Series," agent Larry O'Brien said.
The deal was contingent on Lilly passing a physical, the Cubs said.
Earlier in the day, Lilly eliminated a return to Toronto, where he spent the past three seasons of his eight-year major league career. He went 15-13 with a 4.31 ERA in 32 starts and 181 2-3 innings during 2006 and has won 10 or more games in each of the past four seasons.
Lilly's first choice appeared to be a return to the New York Yankees, his team from 2000-02. But the Yankees informed the 30-year-old Lilly on Wednesday night they would not bid for him, choosing to concentrate their efforts on Andy Pettitte, who said earlier in the day that he plans to pitch next season instead of retire.
A call to Lilly was not immediately returned Wednesday night.
"We are looking for starting pitching," new Cubs manager Lou Piniella said earlier in the day before the deal was announced by O'Brien. "He is a competitive guy. He likes to pitch. Left-hander, you know, he's got a good breaking ball, but the good thing about him is that he gives you innings. He gives you a chance to win, and we think that he would be a fine addition to our pitching staff."
Free agent right-hander Gil Meche was negotiating with Toronto, but a deal with the Blue Jays had not yet been agreed to, agent Casey Close said.
Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who already signed slugger Frank Thomas to an $18.12 million, two-year agreement, had hoped to retain Lilly. Instead, Ricciardi turned his attention to Meche.
The pitcher attended a Maple Leafs hockey game last month in Toronto, where he was shown on the video board with "Future Blue Jay" written beside his name.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, hospitalized Wednesday at the winter meetings after not feeling well, has been one of the most productive GMs this offseason. He agreed to a $136 million, eight-year contract with Alfonso Soriano and re-signed third baseman Aramis Ramirez for $75 million over five years.
Lilly was a 23rd-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1996.
In August, Lilly exchanged words on the mound with Toronto manager John Gibbons during a pitching change and it turned physical a few minutes later near the dugout. While both men said no punches were thrown, Gibbons wound up with a bloody nose after the scuffle during the third inning of a 12-10 loss to the Oakland Athletics.
The Blue Jays had an 8-0 lead, but Lilly was pulled in the third inning when the Athletics scored seven runs. Gibbons chewed out his pitcher, who refused to give him the ball.

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