Originally created 12/30/04

Yankees finalize $21 million deal with Wright



NEW YORK - Free agent Jaret Wright and the New York Yankees finalized a $21 million, three-year contract Wednesday, announcing the deal on the pitcher's 29th birthday.

Wright and the Yankees reached a preliminary agreement Dec. 7. Since losing to Boston in the AL championship series, New York also has added free-agent pitcher Carl Pavano to the rotation and tried to work out a trade for Arizona ace Randy Johnson.

Wright was 15-8 with a 3.28 ERA for Atlanta last season, then lost both of his starts in the first round of the playoffs against Houston. The right-hander is 52-45 with a 5.09 ERA in a career that began in 1997 with Cleveland and nearly ended because of shoulder trouble.

Wright's contract calls for annual salaries of $7 million. If he in on the disabled list because of a shoulder injury for a combined 75 days or more during the first two years, the Yankees can opt out of his salary for 2007 and pay a $4 million buyout.

If he doesn't go on the DL for 75 days or more because of a shoulder injury during the first two years, the third season becomes a player option. If Wright decides to end the contract after two years and become a free agent again, he would not get the buyout.