Ponson agrees to one-year deal with Cardinals

Ex-Orioles right-hander was released from Baltimore jail on Sunday



The Cardinals have reached an agreement with former Orioles pitcher Sidney Ponson on a one-year contract, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today, giving the troubled right-hander a chance to resuscitate a once-promising career.

The Cardinals are expected to announce the signing of the 29-year-old Aruban pitcher today, the paper reported. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it is expected to include a low base salary and lots of performance incentives.

Ponson spent parts of eight major league seasons with the Orioles and became a fixture in the starting rotation. He posted a career-best 3.75 ERA in 2003, prompting the Orioles to sign him to a a three-year, $22.4 million contract before the 2004 season. But Ponson pitched poorly after signing that deal and went 7-11 with a 6.22 ERA this past season. He also angered many in the Orioles organization with several arrests, including three drunken driving incidents and an altercation on an Aruba beach in December 2004 in which he hit a judge.

The Orioles placed Ponson on unconditional release waivers on Sept. 1 for the purpose of terminating the final year of his contract.

Tuesday's agreement occurred barely 24 hours after Ponson's release from a Baltimore jail, where he served five days for a drunk driving offense in August. That offense prompted the Orioles to void the final year of a three-year, $22.5 million contract he signed in 2004. That action prompted the Players Association to file a grievance on his behalf. The matter is pending.

Ponson's legal troubles aren't over as he must now contend with a new charge lodged against him last week -- a citation of knowingly making a false statement on a Motor Vehicle Administration application. His attorney, Andrew Alperstein, said Ponson will dispute the MVA-related charge.

Originally published December 21, 2005, 9:04 AM EST

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