Mussina, Orioles settle on a one-year contract Long-term deal on hold for now SPRING TRAINING

March 11, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Pitcher Mike Mussina avoided the unhappy prospect of automatic renewal when he came to terms on a one-year contract with the Orioles yesterday.

Outfielder-first baseman Doug Jennings also agreed to a one-year deal.

Mussina, who led the American League in winning percentage with an 18-5 record last year, figures to be among the highest-paid players in his service class, but the terms of the deal were not released.

Jennings signed a split contract, which means that he will earn one salary if he makes the major-league roster and another if he plays for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.

The Orioles had to have their last two unsigned players under contract by midnight tonight. If the agreements had not been reached, the club could have renewed each player at any salary figure it chose, so long as it met the minimum salary and maximum pay-cut requirement.

The team figured to be eager to come to an amicable settlement with Mussina, who is the cornerstone of a pitching youth movement that is the envy of the American League. The 24-year-old right-hander also felt it was important to avoid a bitter contract squabble.

"In all respects, the Orioles treated Mike fairly," said agent Arn Tellum, who was in camp the past three days to meet face-to-face with Orioles general manager Roland Hemond. "We established a good foundation for the more difficult contracts that are bound to follow."

There had been some talk about a multi-year contract for the club's most effective pitcher of 1992, but the team's long-term proposal was withdrawn last week and replaced with a one-year deal. Mussina earned $152,500 in salary and incentives last year.

"Mike was interested in doing a multi-year, and maybe there still is a chance next year," Tellum said. "What made it difficult was the impending sale of the team. We were never really in a position to do it."

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