Joyner breaks arbitration pay record

February 11, 1991

First baseman Wally Joyner got the highest salary ever in arbitration, winning at $2.1 million and breaking Don Mattingly's previous record.

Arbitrator Gil Vernon made his decision his late Saturday, turning down the California Angels' offer of $1.65 million.

"Obviously, I'm very happy about the outcome of the arbitration case," Joyner said. "It's finally over. There's two seasons in baseball, in-season and out-of-season. My out-of-season is finally over. Now I can start having fun."

A stress fracture in his right kneecap limited Joyner to 83 games last season, when he hit .268 with eight home runs and 41 RBI.

California's offer was a $100,000 cut from Joyner's 1990 salary, which he won in arbitration last winter. California had offered $1,225,000 last year.

"Wally didn't deserve a cut and that's what the case was about," said Michael Watkins, who presented Joyner's case with agent Barry Axelrod. "When a player produces as he has, he doesn't deserve a cut."

Mattingly's record of $1,975,000 was set in 1987. Andre Dawson, Lonnie Smith and Benito Santiago all missed breaking the record before Joyner did it.

* PIRATES: Bobby Bonilla has been offered a four-year contract worth $15.5 million, a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in team history.

Team president Carl Barger said yesterday that the offer includes a signing bonus of $750,000. Bonilla's salary-arbitration hearing is scheduled for Thursday. Bonilla's agent, Dennis Gilbert, refused to confirm the figures.

* PHILLIES: Shortstop Dickie Thon lost his arbitration case and will be paid $1.25 million in 1991 rather than his request for $1.7 million.

Arbitrator Reg Alleyne made the decision late Saturday after hearing the case in Los Angeles on Friday. Thon, 32, who batted .255 in 141 games last season, will be getting a $150,000 raise despite his loss.

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