After contract extension, Gooden is 2nd on payday

April 02, 1991|By Marty Noble | Marty Noble,Newsday

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The New York Mets painted one picture, the agent representing Dwight Gooden sketched another. The multimillion-dollar man in the middle supported neither.

Gooden didn't particularly care how his new contract extension impacted the Mets' salary structure or their ongoing negotiations with Frank Viola. And he didn't seem to care whether he was the highest-paid baseball player on the planet. That's just as well, for he isn't.

Gooden was satisfied and delighted and, in a moment of candor, admitted being a bit overwhelmed. The three-year, $15.45-million contract extension he signed yesterday made him the highest-paid player in the history of the Mets and stands as the most lucrative contract ever signed by a National League player. That was enough for him.

After more than seven weeks of saying he would accept nothing less than "Clemens money," Gooden was more than satisfied to take something substantially less, nearly a quarter-million dollars less per year than Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox will earn under the terms of his recently signed contract extension.

"But it's done, and that's the most important part right now," Gooden said. "I'm glad it's over. I was starting to wonder if we'd get it done.

Gooden's agent, Jim Neader, said there was no precise way to compare Gooden's and Clemens' contract extensions, each of which takes effect next season. He pointed to clauses in Gooden's contract, based on innings pitched, that could yield an additional $750,000. But he said little of the clauses that could substantially increase Clemens' earning power.

Ultimately, it was a novel proposal presented Saturday by Mets executive vice president Al Harazin that spanned a difference of $1.2 million that had existed for 10 days. Harazin suggested that the club pay Gooden $250,000 per year for the length of the contract for the right to produce and market videotapes in which he would be the primary subject. Gooden would be paid even if the videotapes were not made and would receive 20 percent of any net profits from the sales.

Neader needed one day to ponder the proposal. He contacted Harazin Sunday afternoon, and the two made arrangements to meet face-to-face for the first time in these negotiations at the Mets' spring-training headquarters. An agreement was struck late yesterday morning and announced after the Mets' final home exhibition game.

Highest salaries

The top 10 major-league baseball salaries. Figures were obtained by The Associated Press from player and management sources and include all guaranteed income but not income from potential incentive bonuses:

Player, club... ............. ...... .... .... Years Avg. salary

1. Roger Clemens, Bos-x.... ........ .... .... 1992-95 $5,380,250

2. Dwight Gooden, NYM.... .......... ........ 1992-94 $5,150,000

Jose Canseco, Oak.. ........... ....... ... 1991-95 $4,700,000

4. Tony Gwynn, SD..... ......... ....... ..... 1993-95 $4,083,333

5. Darryl Strawberry, LA.... .......... ...... 1991-95 $4,050,000

Don Mattingly, NYY..... ..... ........ .... 1991-95 $3,860,000

7. Fred McGriff, SD-y.... ..... ..... ........ 1991-94 $3,812,500

8. Will Clark, SF... .......... ..... ........ 1990-93 $3,750,000

9. Kevin Mitchell, SF.. ........ ... ......... 1991-94 $3,750,000

10. Tim Wallach, Mon. .......... .... ........ 1993-94 $3,750,000

Dave Winfield, Cal-z... .......... ....... ... 1991 $3,750,000

includes $1.5 million buyout of 1996 option.

y-includes $500,000 buyout of 1995 option.

z-includes $450,000 buyout of 1992 option.

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