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Cubs Sign Sandberg To One-Year Deal Worth $3.5 Million

Thu., Nov. 28, 1996

Ryne Sandberg has decided to return to the Chicago Cubs, agreeing Wednesday to a $3.5 million, one-year contract with a team option for 1998.

The 37-year-old second baseman, a native of Spokane, became a free agent earlier this month. He came out of retirement last season and batted .244 with 25 homers and 92 RBIs, and committed just six errors.

“Here’s a guy who has played in more than 2,000 games with the Cubs,” general manager Ed Lynch said. “He’s only the fifth player in team history to do that (Ernie Banks, Cap Anson, Billy Williams and Ron Santo are the others). He had a pretty good year in ‘95 after being out for a year.”

Sandberg wasn’t available for comment.

Before retiring in June 1994, he had a career .289 average with 245 homers and 905 RBIs in one season with Philadelphia and 13-plus seasons with the Cubs. When he retired, Sandberg walked away from a $28.4 million, four-year deal.

Sandberg, who made $2.8 million last season, gets $3.25 million and the chance to earn $250,000 more in performance bonuses: $50,000 each for 100, 110, 120, 130 and 140 games. The team’s option is for $3.25 million with a $250,000 buyout, but it becomes guaranteed if Sandberg plays 130 games next season.

Denny Neagle, the newest member of the Atlanta Braves pitching staff, received a $17.5 million, four-year contract that replaces the two-year deal he signed with Pittsburgh before last season.

The Anaheim Angels traded J.T. Snow, a two-time Gold Glove first baseman, to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Allen Watson.

Snow, 28, hit .257 with 17 homers and 67 RBIs for the Angels this year. A switch-hitter, he had batted .289 with 24 homers and 102 RBIs the previous year, his first full season in the majors.

In another week, Roger Clemens’ baseball future should be crystal clear.

With the Yankees and Indians already weighing in with preliminary offers and the White Sox and Marlins on the verge of making big pitches, Clemens could make more than the $5.5 million he earned this past season in Boston. He may even get the four-year guaranteed deal he’s seeking.

The Toronto Blue Jays management met face-to-face with Clemens’ agents this week. While no offer was extended, it appears the Blue Jays will make one soon.

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