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Expos sign Everett; trade Barrett to Oakland

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New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - The Montreal made a couple of transactions on the final day of baseball's winter meetings by signing free- agent outfielder to a two-year contract and trading catcher to the Oakland for a player to be named. The contract for the 32-year-old Everett, a two-time All-Star, also includes a club option for the 2006 season. He will reportedly receive $7 million over the two years and has an opportunity to step into the starting lineup to replace the bulk of the offense lost with the departure of free-agent .

This past season Everett, a switch-hitter, batted a combined .287 with 28 homers and 92 RBI for the Texas and Chicago . Everett started the season in Texas before being dealt to the in July. A career .278 hitter with 161 homers and 637 RBI, he pulled in $9.15 million last season. Everett has also played for Florida, the New York , Houston and Boston.

"By signing a player of 's stature, we have added a much needed power bat to the middle of our lineup," said general manager Omar Minaya. "To bring him on board is a way of replacing some offense we lost with Vladimir. We're very happy. We were not really concerned about any history of trouble he's had."

In 2000 while with the , Everett was suspended 10 games for bumping umpire Ron Kulpa. He was suspended by the for four games the following season for reporting late to a workout. Earlier that year, in spring training, he was suspended for arriving late and missing the bus.

This marks the first time since 1999 that Everett will play in the National League. That season, his last one in Houston, he had 108 RBI, which is tied for a career-high.

"He's what we consider a warrior," Minaya said. "The fact he has the ability to play three outfield positions to me is very important because he's not only an offensive player, but he is also a pretty good defensive player."

The made Everett a contract offer last week.

"We just put an offer on the table what we felt was a fair offer, what we can pay," said Minaya. "He had a chance to got to Tampa Bay, but he chose to go with us."

Barrett hit .208 with 10 homers and 30 RBI in 70 games this past season. He spent nearly six weeks on the disabled list with a right hip flexor strain and also fractured his left index finger while on a rehab assignment. The 27-year- old was the ' catcher for 68 games last season and made $2.6 million. He broke into the majors with the in 1998 and is a career .253 hitter with 38 homers and 193 RBI.

With the loss of Barrett, that means , for now, is Montreal's No. 1 catcher. Minaya said the Barrett deal was done because the team didn't want to go to arbitration with him and that the club couldn't fit him into the budget.

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