Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, August 6, 2001


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Giants reportedly
claim Benny

The outfielder could be
back in a pennant race
at any minute

From staff and wire reports

Benny and the ... Giants?

Benny Agbayani was held out of the New York Mets' lineup for the second consecutive game yesterday, adding to speculation that the fourth-year outfielder from Aiea, who is on waivers, might be traded.

Agbayani was apparently claimed on Friday, but the name of the team that claimed him has not been released. Early published reports indicated that the San Diego Padres had claimed him, but the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger reported yesterday that "baseball officials indicated that the San Francisco Giants were awarded the claim on Agbayani."

If another team has made a claim on Agbayani, the Mets must decide by tomorrow morning whether to trade him, keep him for the rest of the season or release him to the team that claimed him.

"Benny should be playing," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said Saturday of Agbayani, who is hitting .383 in his last 47 at-bats. "But all the stuff with the waiver wire, I didn't want to bother his head with it."

Another reason Agbayani was held out might be to prevent an injury that would botch a proposed trade.

There are several reasons it makes sense for the Giants to have claimed Agbayani:

>> San Francisco is one game behind Los Angeles in the National League East pennant race. Agbayani's late and postseason production last year when the Mets won the National League championship makes him attractive for a team looking for bench help in the stretch run.

>> Agbayani is the classic "rent-a-player" for a team making a pennant chase. He makes $260,000 a year, paltry by major league standards. The Giants could trade or release him at the end of the season without having to deal with arbitration, for which Agbayani could be eligible.

>> The Giants are managed by frequent isle visitor Dusty Baker, and Hawaii resident Duane Kurisu is part-owner of the team.

Agbayani indicated Saturday he would prefer to remain with the fourth-place Mets than be traded.

"The Mets have been my home since '93," Agbayani told the Star-Ledger. "If I get traded, am I going to play?"

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