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Eckstein, Jays agree to deal

Eckstein, Jays agree to deal

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have added shortstop David Eckstein. Toronto reached an agreement with Eckstein on a one-year contract worth $4.5 million on Thursday, pending a physical. A team official said an official announcement could come as early as Friday.

Eckstein, who took home World Series MVP honors for the Cardinals in 2006, will likely move into the Blue Jays' starting shortstop role, which was filled by veteran John McDonald. Toronto signed McDonald to a two-year, $3.8 million in September, and the club gave no hint that they were looking for a new shortstop this winter.

That changed on Thursday.

With Eckstein in the fold, McDonald -- better known for his defensive gems than his bat -- would probably return to a reserve role. The 32-year-old Eckstein is also a prime candidate to take over as Toronto's leadoff hitter, which is a role that the Jays struggled to fill last year.

Last season, Eckstein posted a .309 average with three home runs, 31 RBIs and 10 stolen bases for St. Louis, which signed him to a three-year deal worth $10.25 million prior to the 2005 campaign. Eckstein, who is a two-time World Series champion, owns a career on-base percentage of .351.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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