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12/11/08 5:32 PM EST

Bucs negotiating with Vazquez

Veteran infielder expected to decide on two-year deal Friday

LAS VEGAS -- The Pirates should know on Friday whether or not free agent Ramon Vazquez will accept a two-year, $4 million offer from the Pirates.

Vazquez's agent, Melvin Roman, confirmed that the two sides are in negotiations, and that the Pirates are currently the front-runner to land the utility infielder.

"We are in very serious discussions," Roman said. "He should have a decision made by [Friday], and right now it's 90 percent that he'll be signing with the Pirates."

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington also acknowledged that discussions with Vazquez are ongoing and moving in the right direction.

"We're working through some things with Ramon," Huntington said. "We're optimistic."

Without getting any more specific, Roman said that a handful of other teams also have offers on the table for Vazquez, though it will take a two-year contract to get a deal done. Vazquez had been offered a one-year contract by the D-backs earlier in the offseason, but did not sign, as he was hopeful of finding a two-year offer elsewhere.

Signing Vazquez would provide the Pirates with an experienced infield backup option, or a replacement for Jack Wilson or Freddy Sanchez, should either middle infielder be traded before the start of the year. It would also halt discussions that the Pirates have been having with David Eckstein, another middle infielder that the club has targeted this offseason.

Vazquez, 32, hit .290 with 40 RBIs for the Rangers last season. He has a career .257 batting average in eight Major League seasons.

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