Five players face Sunday deadline

Five face Sunday deadline

A Sunday deadline looms for five players who declined arbitration.

If they do not re-sign by the end of the day Sunday, the players in question cannot re-sign with their 2005 club until after May 1, which essentially ends their ties with their respective organizations.

That would leave each of the players with 29 potential employers instead of 30, with time winding down before Spring Training reporting dates.

There is, of course, always the possibility that one or all could be re-signed before Sunday, but in the meantime here's a look at the impacted players:

Rich Aurilia: He hit .282 last season, his best year since hitting .324 in 2001, when he led the league in hits with 206. He was used primarily as a second baseman but also spent time at shortstop and third base for Cincinnati.

The arrival of Tony Womack to play second, and the Reds' set on the left side with third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and shortstop Felipe Lopez along with the versatile Ryan Freel, made Aurilia superfluous in Cincy.

Eduardo Perez: The first baseman/designated hitter hit .255 with 11 homers and 28 RBIs in 77 games for Tampa Bay. The Devil Rays have parted ways with the 36-year-old with Cleveland looming as a likely destination following the deadline.

Alex S. Gonzalez: The infielder signed a $1.75 million free agent contract with the Devil Rays last winter. A natural shortstop, he wound up playing 98 games at third base, hitting .269 with nine homers and 38 RBIs in 109 games. He became expendable once the Devil Rays decided to go with Sean Burroughs and Nick Green at third.

Jeff Weaver: The Dodgers are still negotiating with the right-hander, but indications are pointing to it being doubtful he will return to Los Angeles in 2006. Weaver, 29, was 14-11 in a career-high 224 innings last season.

Pedro Astacio: He was a combined 6-10 with a 4.69 ERA for the Rangers and Padres last season. He pitched better in the second half with San Diego, but the arrival of Shawn Estes made the right-hander's departure more likely.

Twenty-three teams are without any players impacted by Sunday's deadline, including the Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays, Nationals, Mets, Phillies, Marlins, Angels, Athletics, Mariners, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Giants, White Sox, Twins, Royals, Tigers, Indians, Cardinals, Astros, Brewers, Cubs and Pirates.

Jim Molony is a national reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.