Yankees sign Angel Berroa

January 8, 2009 7:15:33 PM PST
Former AL Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa has agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Yankees. The shortstop, bidding to make the team as a backup infielder, is guaranteed $66,000 under his deal. He would get an $800,000, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster and could earn an additional $300,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances from 100-375.

Now 30, Berroa edged Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui for the rookie award in 2003 after batting .287 with 17 homers and 73 RBIs for the Kansas City Royals.

Berroa became the Los Angeles Dodgers' starting shortstop last year after he was acquired from the Royals on June 6 for minor league infielder Juan Rivera. Berroa hit .230 with one homer and 16 RBIs in 84 games, then became a backup during the postseason when Rafael Furcal returned from the disabled list.

Los Angeles declined Berroa's $5.5 million option, instead paying a $500,000 buyout. Rather than have Berroa become eligible for salary arbitration, the Dodgers failed to offer a contract by the Dec. 12 deadline, making him a free agent.

Berroa made $4.75 million last season.

The Yankees have not yet announced the agreement, opting to announce all their minor league deals simultaneously. They previously agreed to contracts with backup catcher Kevin Cash and right-hander Jason Johnson.