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Yanks Close To Signing Belle

Albert Belle, barring an unexpected turn of events, will be wearing Yankees pinstripes by Thanksgiving.

The New York Yankees not only plan to sign Belle, sources told Pro Sports Xchange, but also trade for center fielder Rondell White of the Montreal Expos. They will give the Expos third base prospect Mike Lowell, outfielder Ricky Ledee and perhaps a pitcher.

Yes, believe it or not, the 1999 Yankees just might be better than their championship team of 1998.

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The Yankees say they simply will not offer more than their five-year, $60 million proposal to center fielder Bernie Williams, which he already has rejected. The only available outfielder worth that kind of money, they privately say, is Belle.

Sure, the guy has a volatile personality, but he's also one of the greatest hitters of our generation. They'll give Belle a four-year deal for about $56 million and hope he continues his dynamic production, which has seen him average 39 homers and 122 RBIs for the last eight years.

"I know Albert off the field, and he's a great guy," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "He's a great player, and he's proven over the years he can swing the bat and he can play."

This would leave Williams to sign with the Boston Red Sox or possibly the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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