Olson: Two years, $3.75 million Winter meetings

December 10, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Evening Sun Staff

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- The Orioles finalized a new contract with Gregg Olson yesterday, locking him up with a two-year deal worth $3.75 million.

Olson, whose 95 saves are the most by a pitcher his age (25), is the fourth Oriole to re-sign since the end of the 1991 season. The list includes Glenn Davis, Dwight Evans and Tim Hulett.

The Orioles were eager to get him under contract and avoid the possibility of a series of costly salary arbitration showdowns. Olson would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time this year.

Olson will be paid $1.5 million next year -- a record for a relief pitcher in his service class -- and $2.25 million in 1993. Olson will donate $500 to a Baltimore charity for every win or save he records.

The contract ranks among the biggest given to a player with three years of major-league service. Both sides apparently used the contracts signed by Ken Griffey Jr. and Matt Williams last winter as a launching point for this year's negotiations. Each signed a two-year deal worth about $2.5 million after two years of service.

Olson was 4-6 with 31 saves and a 3.18 ERA in 72 appearances in 1991. His 95 career saves rank second on the Orioles' all-time list behind Tippy Martinez's 105.

* VINCENT CONCERNED: Commissioner Fay Vincent delivered his state-of-baseball address to a large crowd of baseball officials before yesterday's Rule V draft, surprising no one with his view on the condition of the game.

He voiced his concern about the state of baseball economics:

"Small-market clubs simply have no choice but to arrange their payrolls on an entirely different scale. And moving money from club to club is not the total answer. Compounding the problem is our system of salary arbitration -- a system so well designed and thought out that no one has ever seen fit to copy it."

He expressed more concern about baseball's runaway salary structure:

"The result of arbitration, to the dismay of the small-market clubs, is that it imposes large-market financial judgments on all other clubs. And the trickle-down effect as free-agent signings seep into the salary arbitration process is like pitching to Maris and Mantle back-to-back. If one doesn't get you the other will."

* ORIOLES DRAFT 2, LOSE 1: The Orioles selected two players && from the New York Mets organization in the minor-league phase of the Rule V draft at the Fontainebleau Resort.

The club added catcher/first baseman Paul Williams to the Triple A Rochester Red Wings roster and picked up outfielder Steve Cameron for the Double A Hagerstown Suns. Williams batted .259 with eight homers and 72 RBIs for the Double A Williamsport Mets, and Cameron hit .185 with two homers and 26 RBIs for the Single A St. Lucie Mets.

* METS TRADE BEATTY: The New York Mets sent former Orioles left-hander Blaine Beatty to the Montreal Expos yesterday for 23-year-old outfield prospect Jeff Barry.

Beatty was acquired by the Mets in the trade that sent reliever Doug Sisk to the Orioles on Dec. 8, 1987.

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