The Kansas City Royals will have to come up with at least $4 million a year if the team expects to sign right fielder Danny Tartabull for next season.
The Royals have offered Tartabull, 28, three years at $3 million annually. But his agent, Dennis Gilbert, is using Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andy Van Slyke, New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden and Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens as a gauge in determining Tartabull's worth.
"Andy Van Slyke is making $4.2 million a year," Gilbert said. "Dwight Gooden's making $5 million. Roger Clemens is making $5 million. My question is, can you tell me Danny isn't as valuable to the Royals as Gooden and Clemens are to their teams?
Tartabull, eligible for free agency after this season, said he is "almost certain" he will test the market after receiving the Royals' initial contract offer. Tartabull, batting .331 with 24 homers and 71 RBI, is making $2.2 million this season.
* YANKEES: General manager Gene Michael said that the suspension of the Class AAA Columbus Clippers' Jim Leyritz will be lifted today, five days after he refused to play in a game at Pawtucket, R.I.
"Everything's settled; we came to an agreement," Leyritz said. "There are no problems between me and anybody in the front office."
Still, the third baseman did nothing but hurt his chances to be a Yankee again.
Leyritz was upset that the Yankees brought Torey Lovullo to New York in case Don Mattingly needed to go on the disabled list because of back troubles (Mattingly's quick recovery meant Lovullo never was activated). Leyritz said a series of problems spurred his action but that the Lovullo near-promotion was "the final thing that triggered my emotions."
* YANKEES: Columbus Clippers third baseman Jim Leyritz has been suspended by the Class AAA team, according to a published report.
The New York Daily News reported yesterday that Leyritz, 27, stormed out of the International League team's clubhouse last weekend when he learned Torey Luvollo had been told to report to the Yankees in case Don Mattingly was placed on the disabled list.
"Leyritz was suspended because he refused to play," Yankees general manager Gene Michael told the News.
When asked how long Leyritz would be out, Michael said, "Until we decide he can come back."
Leyritz was sent to Columbus on May 17 after hitting .091 in 22 games with the Yankees. He hit .257 in 92 games with the Yankees last season.