NEW YORK (AP) -- Chan Ho Park neared a deal with the Texas Rangers, Johnny Damon finalized his contract with the Boston Red Sox and Pokey Reese's odd week took another strange twist.
Park and the Rangers approached a $65 million, five-year deal Friday. Texas had a 5.71 ERA last season that was the worst in the majors, and Park is the top pitcher in the free-agent mark.
Agent Scott Boras and the Rangers have an understanding on the format of the Park deal, according to a lawyer familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition he not be identified.
The sides were close to an agreement but had not yet agreed on all the details, the lawyer said.
Boras, who last year negotiated a record $252 million, 10-year deal between the Rangers and shortstop Alex Rodriguez, intended to travel to the Dallas area Friday night or Saturday morning.
"We're continuing to talk and we've had some breakthroughs as to what we're doing," Boras said. "Usually when you have deals like this, you're able to finish them off, but we haven't been able to do that."
Damon agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Boston. He gives the traditionally lead-footed Red Sox a speedy leadoff hitter who has scored more than 100 runs each of the last four seasons.
Damon also provides an attribute Carl Everett lacked -- a calm personality that contributes to a harmonious team.
"They're bringing me over here to fit in and they know I'm going to," Damon said.
Boston, suddenly worried about payroll, cut Reese. The two-time Gold Glove second baseman was traded Tuesday from Cincinnati to Colorado, then dealt the next day to the Red Sox.
General manager Dan Duquette said the Red Sox still want to sign Reese, but conceded the infielder probably will talk to other clubs now that he's a free agent.
"Financially, we didn't have the capability to fit him in with our structure when we signed Johnny," Duquette said.
In all, 34 players became free agents when teams failed to offer them contracts by Thursday's deadline.
Along with Reese, the Red Sox did not offer 2002 contracts to right-hander Todd Erdos, left-hander Allen McDill, catcher Steve Lomasney, infielder Chris Stynes and outfielder Izzy Alcantara.
Lomasney quickly returned to Boston, agreeing later in the day to a minor league contract.
Also cut were Kansas City right-hander Paul Byrd and infielder Donnie Sadler; Arizona infielder-outfielder Midre Cummings, right-hander Robert Ellis and left-hander Eric Knott; Houston outfielder Glen Barker; Montreal right-hander Mike Thurman; Philadelphia right-hander John Wasdin; and St. Louis right-handers Alan Benes and Clint Weibl, and outfielder Luis Saturria.
Houston, meanwhile, added two pitchers, agreeing to a $1 million, one-year contract with T.J. Mathews and a minor league deal with C.J. Nitkowski that would be worth $750,000 if he makes the team.
The Yankees agreed to a $650,000 one-year contract with backup catcher Alberto Castillo and a minor league deal with outfielder F.P. Santangelo that would be worth $350,000 if he makes the team.
Montreal agreed to a $300,000, one-year contract with right-fielder Masato Yoshii and a minor league contract with outfielder Mark Smith; and Detroit agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Jacob Cruz.
In minor trades, the Chicago White Sox acquired outfielder Scott Bikowski and infielder Josh Shaffer from Anaheim for left-hander Dan Mozingo and right-hander Jim Sweeney, and Los Angeles acquired outfielder Dave Roberts from Cleveland for left-handers Christian Bridenbaugh and Nial Hughes.
The Mets, seeking more change following last week's acquisition of All-Star second baseman Roberto Alomar, examined Anaheim first baseman Mo Vaughn on Thursday in the Boston area.
Phillips admitted a three-way trade could happen. In a possibility involving Los Angeles, outfielder Marquis Grissom, pitcher Kevin Appier and pitcher Matt Herges would wind up with the Angels, and pitcher Troy Percival and infielder Lenny Harris would go to the Dodgers. The Mets also were dangling first baseman Todd Zeile.
"We're continuing to talk to the Angels. It's not appropriate to talk about details. Nothing is imminent," Mets general manager Steve Phillips said. "It could happen today. It could happen a week from now. I don't know everybody's plans, and I don't know how discussions will go."
Vaughn 34, didn't play last season following surgery to repair a ruptured biceps tendon in his left arm last February.
After leaving Boston to sign with the Angels, he hit .281 with 33 homers and 108 RBIs in 1999. He batted .272 with 36 homers and 117 RBIs in 2000.
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