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Beltran signs $45 million contract with Yankees

AP

Outfielder Carlos Beltran and the New York Yankees have finalized a $45 million, three-year contract.

The agreement, reached Dec. 6, was announced by the team Thursday. The eight-time All-Star is to be introduced at a Yankee Stadium news conference Friday.

The 36-year-old played for the Mets from 2005-11, when he was dealt to San Francisco. He signed a $26 million, two-year contract with St. Louis before the 2012 season and reached the World Series for the first time this year.

Slowed by knee injuries, Beltran has retained a potent bat — especially in October. He hit .296 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs for the Cardinals this year and added two homers and 15 RBIs in the postseason.

Beltran injured his ribs in the World Series opener when he banged into Fenway Park’s right-fight fence while robbing Boston’s David Ortiz of a grand slam.

New York seems to have a logjam among outfielders on its roster, a group that includes Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells.

To open a roster spot, the Yankees designated right-hander Brett Marshall for assignment.

Indians sign Axford

Cleveland AP

John Axford had other choices where he could pitch next season. The Indians closed the deal.

Axford, who had 46 saves for Milwaukee in 2011 but lost his closer’s job last season and was traded to St. Louis, finalized a $4.5 million, one-year contract Thursday and will close for Cleveland in 2014.

The 30-year-old Axford had other teams interested in signing him, but he decided to join the Indians because of their turnaround in 2013, a strong clubhouse and manager Terry Francona, who sold Axford with his typical straightforward approach.

“He was very, very up front with me about the team, the organization, the city,” Axford said. “It just sounded to me like a situation I want to be a part of.”

Axford replaces two-time All-Star closer Chris Perez, who was released in October after Cleveland made its first playoff appearance since 2007. Axford agreed to the contract with Cleveland earlier this week, and completed the deal after taking a physical on Wednesday. The right-hander can earn another $1.75 million in performance bonuses based on games finished: $250,000 for 38 and $300,000 apiece for 43, 48, 53, 58 and 63.

Phillies land Hernandez

Philadelphia AP

Pitcher Roberto Hernandez and the Philadelphia Phillies have completed a $4.5 million, one-year contract.

The 33-year-old right-hander agreed to the deal last week subject to a physical, and the contract was announced Wednesday.

Hernandez can earn an additional $1.5 million in performance bonuses based on innings; $200,000 each for 140 and 155 innings, $300,000 for 170 and 185, and then $500,000 for 200.