Morneau: 6 years, $80M

The Baltimore Sun

Former American League Most Valuable Player Justin Morneau received the most lucrative contract in Minnesota Twins history, a six-year, $80 million deal announced yesterday along with a three-year, $24 million agreement for right fielder Michael Cuddyer.

The Twins have explored trading two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, but general manager Bill Smith said the Morneau and Cuddyer contracts do not affect any other players.

Morneau agreed to a one-year, $7.4 million contract last week, but both sides wanted to go longer.

Morneau, a first baseman, hit .271 with 31 homers and 111 RBIs last season and was the AL MVP in 2006.

Nationals -- Catcher Paul Lo Duca injured his left knee during a workout and will travel to Washington next week to be examined by a team doctor. Lo Duca, who signed a one-year, $5 million deal as a free agent this offseason, was hurt this week and had a magnetic resonance imaging yesterday. Also yesterday, the Nationals agreed to one-year contracts with 12 players, including outfielder Elijah Dukes and starting pitchers Shawn Hill, Jason Bergmann and Matt Chico.

Orioles -- The team finalized one-year deals with pitchers Chris Ray and Matt Albers. Ray is expected to miss the 2008 season after having Tommy John surgery. Albers, who was obtained in the Miguel Tejada deal with the Astros, will compete for a job on the Orioles' Opening Day roster, either in the rotation or bullpen. ... Former Orioles third baseman Ryan Minor will return to the organization as a coach for Single-A Delmarva. ... Outfielder Jeff Fiorentino, whom the Orioles designated for assignment earlier this month, was waived by the Reds and claimed by the Athletics.

Et Cetera -- Right-hander Chad Gaudin agreed to a one-year, $1.8 million contract with the Athletics. ... Red Sox reliever Kyle Snyder agreed to a one-year contract for $835,000.

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