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Great Season, Giant Salary

Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants agreed Monday night to a $90 million, five-year contract.

Bonds had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history, hitting 73 homers to break the previous record of 70, set by Mark McGwire in 1998. The 37-year-old outfielder also had an .863 slugging percentage and 177 walks, breaking season marks set by Babe Ruth.

"No amount of money would make me leave San Francisco, to be honest with you. I always wanted to stay a San Francisco Giant," Bonds said. "Unless there was a blockbuster, out-of-the world offer, I wasn't going to leave."

Bonds, the first player to win four Most Valuable Player awards, became a free agent after the season but the Giants were the only team to acknowledge a bid. He accepted the team's offer of salary arbitration on Dec. 20, and the sides were set to exchange proposed salaries Friday for a one-year contract.

"Peter Magowan made my childhood dream come true," Bonds said, referring to the Giants owner. "I was glad I was able to help myself and the organization to stay at home. I'm so excited right now I want to call my godfather (Willie Mays) up and tell him I get to play in his back yard the rest of my career."

Bonds will receive a $10 million signing bonus to be paid through April 2004. He gets salaries of $13 million in each of the next two seasons, $16 million in 2004, $20 million in 2005 and $18 million in 2006.

He isn't concerned about getting too old to fulfill the deal.

"If I can't play, I'll leave gracefully," he said. "Don't worry."

The average annual value of $18 million ties bonds with Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs for the fourth-highest in baseball, trailing only Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez ($25.2 million), Boston outfielder Manny Ramirez ($20 million) and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter ($18.9 million).

"His personal accomplishments speak for themselves," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. "He is such a vital element to our club's success."

Only the first four years and $72 million are guaranteed. If Bonds doesn't have 500 or more plate appearances in 2005, the team can void the final year of the contract. If Bonds has 1,500 or more plate appearances combined from 2003 to 2005, including 400 or more in the final year, the last season becomes guaranteed.

The Giants will defer $5 million of year's salary, money to be paid from 2007 to 2011. Bonds, who has a no-trade clause, gets $2.5 million of the signing bonus on April 1, $3.5 million on April 1, 2003, and $4 million on April 1, 2004.

Teams were wary of a long-term deal because of his age and lack of success in the postseason, where he has a .196 average (19-for-97) with one homer and six RBIs.

Bonds has 567 career homers, seventh on the career list and 188 short of Hank Aaron's record.

By Rick Eymer © MMII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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