Pitcher Mike Morgan, who is 67-104 lifetime and just completed his first winning season, agreed last night to a $12.5 million, four-year contract with the Chicago Cubs.
Morgan, 32, was 14-10 in 1991 with a 2.78 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers and then became a free agent. The right-hander, selected as a National League All-Star in place of injured Ramon Martinez, has a 4.10 career ERA.
Morgan, who made $650,000 last season, gets a $1.5 million signing bonus, $2.5 million in 1992, $3 million in 1993, $2.5 million in 1994 and $3 million in 1995.
He was third in the NL with 236 1/3 innings last season, seventh in ERA and tied for seventh with five complete games. He was 33-36 in three seasons for the Dodgers since Baltimore traded him to Los Angeles for Mike Devereaux on March 12, 1989.
In 1991, the Dodgers gave Morgan little support, scoring three runs or fewer in 16 of his 33 starts. He joins a Chicago staff that had a 4.03 ERA in 1991, the worst in the National League.
* DODGERS: Orel Hershiser re-signed for three years with Los Angeles and knuckleballer Tom Candiotti agreed to a four-year contract.
Hershiser, 33, who returned to the Dodgers' starting rotation last May, 14 months after reconstructive surgery on his pitching shoulder, was 7-2 with a 3.46 ERA last season.
Candiotti, 34, pitched for Cleveland and Toronto last season and went 13-13 with a 2.65 earned run average. His ERA was second best in the American League.
The values of the contracts were not available.
* PIRATES: Shaken by Bobby Bonilla's $29 million contract with the New York Mets, Pittsburgh apparently believes it can't re-sign Barry Bonds and will try to trade him immediately.
General manager Larry Doughty said he will contact the general managers of California teams to see what interest they have in the 1990 National League MVP. Bonds, who is building a house in San Diego, has talked often of returning to the West Coast.
If Bonds were to play in Pittsburgh in 1992 and then sign elsewhere as a free agent, the Pirates would receive only a draft choice as compensation.
Doughty, apparently under orders to trim the payroll in 1992, hinted a Bonds deal could come even before next week's winter meetings in Miami.
"If we're going to trade him, now's the time. . . . It's always easier to trade a guy before the last year of his contract," he said. "It might be too late to wait until [the winter meetings]. We have to find out our options now."
Bonds, the 1991 MVP runner-up, has combined for 58 homers and 230 RBI the past two seasons, including career highs of 33 homers in 1990 and 116 RBI last season. He also has won two consecutive Gold Glove awards for defense.
"Barry knows he's a better player than Bobby and he'll tell you so," Doughty said. "He knows if he's a better player, he should want more money. I think everybody knows that. Somebody out there in the baseball world is going to pay Barry Bonds more money than Bobby Bonilla is being paid."
* REDS: The team doctor for the past two years has resigned, accusing the club of failing adequately to care for its players.
"I cannot and will not continue to engage in a situation that has a front office which does not consider the medical team and its players' health a priority," Dr. Michael Lawhon said in a statement.
The Reds declined to respond to Lawhon's allegation that the team didn't provide adequate equipment for the treatment and rehabilitation of injuries.
"The doctor's statement is not worthy of comment," general manager Bob Quinn said.
Donald Fehr, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said the union was concerned with Lawhon's statements.
"Obviously, we will make an attempt to find out what's behind this and what needs to be done," he said.
* Arbitrator George Nicolau said he would decide Friday whether to shorten Otis Nixon's suspension from 60 days to 42 days.
Nixon was suspended for 60 days by commissioner Fay Vincent on Sept. 16 after testing positive for cocaine. Nixon, who played for the Atlanta Braves last season and then became a free agent, missed the final three weeks of the season, the NL playoffs and the World Series.
He is seeking to have the suspension shortened to time served.