Mussina signs, 4 renewed as contract season ends

Orioles notes

March 08, 1992|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

HAINES CITY, Fla. -- The Orioles brought their remaining unsigned players under contract yesterday, signing pitcher Mike Mussina to a one-year deal and renewing the contracts of Leo Gomez, Todd Frohwirth, Luis Mercedes and Arthur Rhodes.

The club had until Wednesday to renew contracts, but general manager Roland Hemond said the agents for the four renewed players had been informed that the team would act this weekend.

"We had set a date because we wanted to have this done when we started playing games," Hemond said. "We said March 5 or 6, but we ended up doing it today. You have to set a date to get down to business."

The contract terms were not disclosed by the club, though Gomez is known to have been renewed at $150,000. The Orioles do disclose the contract figures of players who are eligible for arbitration or free agency, but do not release figures for players who have 0-3 years of service.

Mussina, who was 4-5 with a 2.87 ERA in a two-month stay in the major leagues, was the only one of the five to agree to terms by the club-imposed deadline.

Gomez had no choice but to accept the club's offer after leading major-league rookies with 16 home runs last year. He has less than one year of major-league service, so he won't have any leverage for at least the next two seasons.

"I can't do anything about it," Gomez said. "This is not what I wanted, but they said they were not going to pay me any more than that. I'm just going to forget about it and concentrate on my job."

Frohwirth was one of the top middle relievers in the American League after he was recalled from the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings early in the season. He appeared in 51 games and finished with a 7-3 record and a 1.87 ERA, but that didn't stop the club from renewing him at its best offer.

"I'm not satisfied, but I'm not upset," Frohwirth said. "A year ago, I was looking for a job. Now, I'm playing baseball in Baltimore and it's a lot of fun. I think everything is OK. I just wish that in every situation that the club and the player could agree to terms."

Rhodes and Mercedes were not in any position to argue. Neither has established himself as a big-league player, though both have an outside chance to make the club this year.

Chito goes crunch

Right fielder Chito Martinez hit a 400-foot home run off rookie pitcher Dera Clark in the second inning of the Orioles' 10-4 exhibition victory over the Kansas City Royals at the Baseball City Sports Complex.

Martinez, who hit 13 homers in 67 games for the Orioles last year, is expected to get most of the playing time in right field, but it didn't hurt to get off to a good start.

Martinez went on to be the offensive star in a 10-run attack that featured 13 hits. He was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and four RBI.

Sherman on the run

Leadoff candidate Darrell Sherman is making it clear that he will not go down without a fight this spring. He bunted for a hit in the first inning and went from first to third on a single by Juan Bell. In his next at-bat, he reached base on an error and was thrown out stealing.

"That aggressiveness is a good sign," Hemond said. "I would have been disappointed if he had stopped at second on that hit. Cal [Ripken Sr.] was bringing him around, but you could see he was thinking extra base."

The bunt single wasn't picture perfect. Sherman looped the ball over the head of Royals starter Kevin Appier. But it was a successful bunt, which is something the Orioles have not seen enough of the past few years.

"Sometimes you don't get the perfect bunt," Hemond said, "but he made something happen. The second baseman had to rush and he couldn't make a play. He [Sherman] is a little man [he's listed at 5 feet 9] who can play the little man's game. You like to see a guy who knows what his strengths are."

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