Yankees' Witt gets share of collusion pie

January 03, 1991|By New York Times

NEW YORK -- On the day the owners transferred $120 million in collusion damages to money market accounts in two banks in Texas, Mike Witt, one of the players colluded against in 1987, gained his personal benefits yesterday.

Witt, a new-look free agent as a result of the collusion settlement between the owners and the players, agreed with the New York Yankees on a three-year contract worth $8 million. The contract makes him the third highest-paid Yankee ever, behind Don Mattingly and Steve Sax.

Witt, who has a 114-113 career record, will receive a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $2.25 million, $2.75 million and $2 million. The Yankees have an option on a fourth year at $3 million or they will pay Witt $500,000.

He could also earn a maximum of $250,000 each year in bonuses based on innings pitched. Witt, 30, would reach the maximum if he pitches 250 innings, a total he has reached or come within four innings of in five of the last seven seasons.

The agreement, which keeps Witt in the Yankees' starting rotation, was coincidental with the first payment of the $280 million in damages the owners will pay the players because of their collusion in 1985, 1986 and 1987.

The money, kept in Texas for tax reasons, is expected to be invested in government or government-backed securities.

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