The Yakult Swallows are set to sign a new deal with outfielder Alex Ramirez, who has turned down an offer from the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, Yakult officials said Wednesday.

Yakult reached a basic agreement on a new contract with Ramirez after offering a three-year package carrying an annual salary of 300 million yen with performance-related incentives, they said.

Yakult has been notified by the agent of the 30-year-old Venezuelan that he has officially turned down Rakuten’s offer.

Earlier, Ramirez had reportedly been on the verge of leaving the Swallows after his four-year stint with the Tokyo-based Central League club following a breakdown in their contract talks.

Ramirez, who led the league in home runs, RBIs and hits in the 2003 season, hit .305 and 31 homers with team highs of 160 hits and 110 RBIs this year.

Yakult has also agreed with the son-in-law of Ramirez, left-hander Alex Ramirez Jr., on a three-year deal that will earn the 21-year-old 4.4 million yen in annual salary in his first year.

Woods to Nagoya?

NAGOYA (Kyodo) The Chunichi Dragons are close to agreeing to terms with slugger Tyrone Woods, who is set to leave the Yokohama Bay-Stars after the failure of their contract talks, Chunichi President Junnosuke Nishikawa indicated Wednesday.

Woods became the Central League home-run king for the second straight season after sharing the title with Tuffy Rhodes of the Yomiuri Giants this year.

The Dragons have offered a two-year package worth 1 billion yen to the 35-year-old, who has also been chased by the Hanshin Tigers.

New Eagles sign

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, who will join professional baseball next season, made provisional contracts Wednesday with Yasuhiro Ichiba and three other collegiate players.

Rakuten signed Ichiba to a deal carrying a signing bonus of 100 million yen and a first-year annual salary of 15 million yen with performance-related incentives of up to 50 million yen.

“I’m just happy to have this opportunity to play baseball,” said Ichiba.

Rakuten also signed provisional deals with Meiji University infielder Hisanori Nishitani, Tohoku Fukushi University infielder Tatsuya Shiokawa and Toyo University infielder Shoji Ohiro.

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