The Chicago Cubs put the final touch on the furious winter meetings, welcoming George Bell to Wrigley Field. And back in Pittsburgh, Zane Smith decided to stay and take the Pirates' big bucks.
Dwight Evans later agreed to a contract with the Baltimore Orioles, who will give the 19-year veteran a chance to continue his career. Boston released the 39-year-old designated hitter following the season.Bell and Smith made it 19 free agents who signed this week - at a total cost of $121 million - and joined Willie McGee, Vince Coleman and Dave Righetti on the go. Bell got a three-year deal from the Cubs for $9.8 million, plus the chance to earn a lot more in options and incentives.
Smith, who was talking to the Cubs, the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds, accepted a four-year deal worth $10.6 million.
Already there had been seven trades, including Joe Carter, Tony Fernandez, Fred McGriff and Roberto Alomar in Wednesday's big San Diego-Toronto deal, and Steve Bedrosian, Devon White and Cory Snyder in others. There were five trades at last year's meetings.
Meanwhile, in Orlando, Fla., Brett Butler, Gary Gaetti and 13 others become new-look free agents today under the $280 million collusion settlement approved by the executive board of the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Jack Clark and Jack Morris also will become free agents under the deal.
Others in the group are Boston pitcher Larry Andersen, California outfielder Chili Davis, Detroit catcher Mike Heath, Minnesota pitcher Juan Berenguer, New York Yankees pitchers Dave LaPoint and Mike Witt, Oakland outfielder Dave Henderson, Atlanta pitcher Charlie Leibrandt, Houston pitchers Danny Darwin and Dave Smith, and San Francisco pitcher Mike LaCoss.