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BoSox Counter Angels' Offer


Now Mo Vaughn has his first free-agent offer -- one that stunned him by its size -- the Boston Red Sox finally make a move to get him to stay, the Boston Globe reported Monday.

After the Anaheim Angels stepped in with a six-year, $72 million offer, the Red Sox countered with an offer for slightly less. Red Sox chief executive officer John Harrington and Vaughn's agent Thomas Reich are planning to meet Tuesday, according to broadcast reports.

Harrington said he didn't want to make the first offer Vaughn could use to elicit others, which is why the club waited for the Angels to make their offer.

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The Angels' offer is not as much as the six-year, $75 million deal Pedro Martinez signed with Boston before last season or the seven-year, $91 million contract Mike Piazza signed recently to stay with the New York Mets.

But it's a start, and a lot more than Boston's last offer of four years for $37 million made during the All-Star break. Vaughn has said he wants a five-year deal, and the Angels went even further.

"I was just shocked that it happened so soon," Vaughn said in an interview with the Boston Globe. "They just told us what they were going to give us and I was stunned."

But Vaughn said many other factors, such as his family's opinion, the ballpark he'd play in and the team's chances of winning, also would affect his deision.

The slugging first baseman had 40 homers and 115 RBI last season. He hit .337, losing the batting race to Bernie Williams of the New York Yankees on the final day of the regular season.

Vaughn earned $6.6 million in the last year of a three-year deal and filed for free agency after the season. Boston didn't take advantage of its 15-day exclusive period to sign him, and he became eligible to receive other offers last Friday. That's when the Angels made their move.

On Saturday, a source close to the negotiations told The Associated Press that both the Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers had made serious offers for Vaughn, although that was denied by Dodgers spokesman Derrick Hall.

The amount of Anaheim's offer was confirmed by a source who spoke on the condition he not be identified.

The Red Sox already have announced a 15 percent increase in ticket prices to pay for Vaughn or whoever they sign in his place. Whoever that would be would have a tough time matching what Vaughn achieved -- the 1995 AL MVP award and at least 35 homers in each of the past four seasons.

He also is a clubhouse leader respected by his teammates and active in the community.

The Red Sox repeatedly have said they are interested in re-signing Vaughn, although this is their first offer since the All-Star break. Giving other teams, like the Angels, a chance to make an offer might have raised the price the Red Sox will pay to keep him.

Now everyone might find out if Vaughn is willing to stay in Boston.

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