Everyone rests a bit easier after Orioles, Davis come to terms

November 13, 1991|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Evening Sun Staff

For now the Orioles are assured of having Glenn Davis in their lineup for the next two years -- but that may be only the beginning.

"Right now it means we don't have to worry about moving for at least two years," said Teresa Davis, the first baseman's wife, after her husband's new contract officially was announced yesterday.

"It would be a dream if we could retire here," said Teresa. "We like it here, the kids like it, we have great neighbors, I love the wives and the things we do.

"Hopefully, Glenn will have a couple of good years and then get a long-term contract. The dream is to finish here."

Davis and the Orioles took the first step in that direction when they avoided a Monday midnight deadline and agreed on a two-year contract that is guaranteed for $6.665 million. Davis agreed to a salary of $2.815 million for next year and $3.75 million for 1993, plus a $100,000 signing bonus.

In addition, Davis can earn up to $600,000 additional next year by being available to play 140 games. There are also award clauses (All-Star, MVP and postseason) in the contract for both seasons.

Even more significant is the inclusion of a no-trade provision for the duration of the agreement.

"That was a big consideration for both Glenn and Teresa," said Mike Moye, one of Davis' representatives. "They wanted to be assured that by not testing the free agent market they would be in Baltimore."

As a precaution, Davis had filed for free agency 11 days before reaching an agreement with the Orioles. By signing before midnight Monday, the deadline for free agency filing, Davis retains his rights for free agency when the contract expires after the 1993 season.

Had the two sides not been able to strike a deal about an hour before the deadline, Davis would have become an unrestricted free agent and lost his repeater rights for five years.

"There's no question that had we gone beyond the deadline, it would've taken a lot more time [to reach agreement]," said club president Larry Lucchino. "I think it probably worked to the advantage of both sides.

"Sometimes you need a deadline to focus everybody's attention on what has to be done. Otherwise, you just procrastinate."

Davis reiterated that it was his desire to return to the Orioles "even though we know for a fact I could have gotten more dollars than what were being offered here."

How much Davis might have been offered in view of the fact he missed 105 games last year because of a neck and shoulder injury, is open for speculation -- but ESPN had reported he was headed for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a replacement for ex-Oriole Eddie Murray.

"We'll never know the other side of that story, because I didn't do it," said Davis. "About two days ago, I decided we had to get this straightened out and I weighed all the positives and the negatives. There just weren't enough negatives [to warrant moving to another team].

"The only two possible negatives were money and the chance to play on a championship team. When we put it all together, I wasn't going to let money be an issue -- and I feel as good about this club as anybody else. If not this [1992] year, then a short time later I think the Orioles will win."

Davis admitted that Monday's deadline was a factor in negotiations. "I think it was a concern of both sides," he said. "We were prepared to do whatever was needed. I would have liked to have gotten it done the day after the season ended, but that's impossible in the baseball world today."

Orioles manager John Oates, who may be most directly affected by the signing of Davis, expressed relief when he got the news at his home in Virginia.

"When I got up this morning and read that last night was the deadline before other teams could make offers, and I hadn't heard from Roland [Orioles general manager Roland Hemond], I got a little down," said Oates.

"I was on my second cup of coffee when Roland called and when he gave me the news it really excited me. I think it makes a statement from Mr. [Eli] Jacobs right on down that we're committed to putting a [contending] team on the field."

According to Oates, the Orioles have discussed several alternatives during their off-season meetings. "We talked about what we'd do if we weren't able to sign Glenn, and what by the signing of Davis, express relief when he got the news at his home in Virginia.

"When I got up this morning and read that last night was the deadline before other teams could make offers, and I hadn't heard from Roland [Orioles general manger Roland Hermond], I got a little down, " said Oates. we'd try to do if we did sign him," said Oates. "I'm anxious now to zero in on the next step."

In the meantime, Davis is anxious to zero in on a full season.

"In a lot of ways next year will be the same as last season," he said, alluding to the fact he had to prepare for a new league after coming from Houston in the trade for pitchers Pete Harnisch and Curt Schilling and outfielder Steve Finley.

"But even when I wasn't playing last year, I was able to take some notes on the pitchers. I think next year I'll be a lot more comfortable."

Just as the Orioles are a lot more comfortable today, knowing their first priority for the off-season is behind them.

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