View Full Version : O's throw $10M more at Mussina......deferred money is an issue

03-28-00, 03:33 PM
O's throw $10M more at Mussina
5-year, $60 million offer is closer to ace's `Martinez' framework; Red Sox got 6 years, $75M; No `artificial' deadline; deferred money is issue
By Joe Strauss
Sun Staff

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- With the likelihood of an agreement before Opening Day diminishing by the hour, Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos has modified his five-year contract proposal to starting pitcher Mike Mussina, bumping the offer's total value from $50 million to $60 million, according to club and industry sources familiar with the negotiations.

The offer also includes significant money deferred without interest -- about $2 million a season, according to sources -- that may also pose a significant hurdle to a deal.

Angelos is vacationing in Europe and could not be reached to comment. Executive vice president John Angelos did not return calls last night.

Before yesterday's morning workout, Mussina downplayed the chance for a sudden breakthrough and minimized its effect on the eventual outcome of talks.

"We've never set artificial deadlines so it's not a big deal," he said. "Obviously, you'd like to get something done, but there's no reason for alarm on our part if it takes longer."

Angelos opened negotiations with a five-year, $50 million offer two weeks before spring training. The offer remained largely untouched until he met for two hours with Mussina's agent, Arn Tellem, at the team's spring headquarters on March 18. Club officials were encouraged by the flexibility shown by Tellem and believed "it's only a matter of time" before an extension was agreed upon. Tellem and Angelos have spoken since but apparently made little headway.

"I think the [March 18] session produced some progress," said Mussina, who said he has not spoken with his agent in recent days. "It should help things along in the next session."

Scheduled to return to Baltimore on Wednesday, Angelos may use the four-day window before Opening Day to further intensify talks.

Mussina, last year's Cy Young Award runner-up, apparently is using Boston Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez's six-year, $75 million contract as a baseline. The Orioles remain one year and $500,000 per season shy of reaching that level.

Entering his 10th season in Baltimore, Mussina has consistently maintained he would not attempt to set the marketplace with his negotiations but was not "uncomfortable" with the idea of becoming a free agent. The stance contrasts his consternation three years ago when he signed a three-year, $20.45 million extension that brought widespread criticism from within the labor fraternity.

Mussina now perceives his value as between Martinez's $12.5 million average and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kevin Brown's $15 million average. A $14 million average annual value is widely projected for Mussina.

Tellem has communicated a desire for at least a six-year framework to Angelos, who has never awarded anything beyond a five-year contract to any player. Mussina may argue his age, 31, and Brown's watershed deal justify breaking with organizational policy.

"We've said all along we're not trying to make the market," said Mussina. "I think they know where we stand. Our position isn't seeking new ground."

Neither Martinez's nor Brown's contracts contain deferred money. Angelos' insistence that it be included in previous deals such as those signed by Rafael Palmeiro in 1994 and Albert Belle in 1998 could become a hindrance with Mussina should he adhere to his insistence for market value.

Mussina maintains there is no reason for him to sign quickly. He and New York Mets left-hander Mike Hampton are the marquee pending free-agent pitchers and rich franchises such as the Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves are likely to target starting pitching next winter.

The longer the Orioles wait, the more Mussina might also be influenced by organizational uncertainty. The club must make a decision on pending free agents Charles Johnson, Mike Bordick, Cal Ripken and Will Clark. Johnson rejected an overture for a three-year deal while Bordick, Ripken and Clark have not yet been approached.

Recent history does not bode well for the club should talks drag through the season. While able to sign Mussina and starting pitcher Scott Erickson to extensions during the season, the Orioles lost Palmeiro and were forced to give Brady Anderson two additional years after waiting to intensify negotiations until after the season.

The club also lost left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes to the Seattle Mariners last winter when it failed to follow through on talks last spring. Rhodes received four years from the Mariners, while the Orioles refused to go beyond three.

Originally published on Mar 28 2000


MLB should design an 'owner aptitude test' before anyone else is allowed to buy a team, name it after Angelos. What I once thought was impossible, Mussina leaving Baltimore, looks now like it could possibly happen.

26 in '00


Bluesexy's daddy
03-28-00, 04:39 PM
The future is not looking too bright for the birds.

They might do better this year but what would they do without Mussina? The O's farm system is NOT full of promissing pitchers.

Is Mussina worth that much money? I don't think so but I could see Clevland or Boston or the Mets paying it if the Orioles decide not too. Angelos must be on the verge of a stroke over this one.

This will be interesting. VERY...

82 years......

My GOD ! That's 4 times longer than Odyseus' journey home from Troy !!

A story too long for Homer to tell.

03-28-00, 05:15 PM
Depending how the Yanks starters do in 2000, I can see the Yanks in the mix. I think he's worth whatever the top market is. Mussina's the real deal, and he's clutch in the post season. He's 31 and is in the running for the Cy Young every year. It would be nice to have the option to sign Mussina, though it would be devastating to Baltimore.


03-28-00, 06:37 PM
C'mon Angelos - you cheap bum, ante up!

Bye bye Baltimore
I'm gonna miss you so.
Bye bye Baltimore,
Gonna blow this town.

Best GoYanks!

03-29-00, 08:26 AM
Moose would be the ACE of any staff in the majors but Boston's...

Angeloser will BLOW this just like he forced out Raffy, Alomar, BEANitez, Davey Johnson, and Gillick...

Da guy is plain and simple an idiot... Worse, he's a Lawyer, aka dom da czar... Thank God... I still say, he's on Steiny's payroll the way he singlehandedly demolished our toughest competitor in the AL East from '95...

I see a bright future for Mr Moose in Pinstripes in 2001... I'd take him over any pitcher on or off the market... check his numbers out...


a39/55, bthgaPrez, shotgun's partner in crime & orangema's favorite son...

26 in 2000

God, I LOVE baseball...