Anderson gets his wish, and $10 million

January 07, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Brady Anderson and the Orioles both added some security yesterday, when the outfielder agreed to a three-year contract for a guaranteed $10.25 million.

In addition, the club also holds an option for a fourth year at $4 million, and Anderson has award bonus provisions plus a limited no-trade clause.

Anderson, 29, who made $1.8 million last year and would've been eligible for free agency after next season, said his desire to remain in Baltimore was the overriding consideration in the negotiations.

"I feel great," Anderson said from his home in California. "The final part of the deal was that it was very important to me to stay in Baltimore.

"The sticking point was I wanted a no-trade [provision]. I called Roland [Hemond, general manager] and told him that I would like to know that I would be there. That's something I did myself. It's not a complete no-trade, but it gives me more of a chance to stay than if I didn't have anything at all."

Anderson has a complete no-trade agreement for the first year, can name 10 teams to which he can't be traded in the second and eight in each of the last two years.

"The best thing would've been a three-year no-trade, but at least I've got one year where I don't have to worry about it," said Anderson.

"I don't want to leave. When negotiations started, I told my agent [Dennis Gilbert] I wanted as long a term as they would offer. I would've liked to have a five-year no-trade if I could have gotten it. Hopefully, when this one is over, I'll be able to signanother one with the Orioles."

Manager Johnny Oates said signing Anderson to a multi-year contract was important to the Orioles. "It's another step in the right direction, a big step," he said.

"Brady had a good year for us -- and our club looks to him in the leadoff spot. I think [the contract] is justified. He's very important in the part of the lineup that means a lot to us."

Although Anderson's numbers dropped off from his career-best year in 1992, Oates discounted the difference. "You have to keep in mind that what Brady did two years ago [21 home runs, 53 stolen bases, 80 RBIs] had never been done before in the American League," said Oates.

"As far as I'm concerned, Brady's offensive production that year was off the scale. We don't have the right to expect him to put up those kind of numbers -- although I'm sure Brady feels they can be reached again.

"Last year, he continued to play outstanding defense, he threw the ball and he played hard, like he always has. He had some leg problems and an illness [chickenpox, which put Anderson on the disabled list for 15 games] that caused his stolen bases [24] to drop, but overall he did a very good job for us."

Anderson hit .263 with 13 homers, 66 RBIs and 87 runs.

Hemond likewise expressed satisfaction that the Orioles were able to get a multi-year commitment.

"He has become a very productive player, and is a key part in our effort to bring a pennant to Baltimore," Hemond said. "We talked both ways -- about a one-year contract and a multi-year deal -- and we finally ended with this."

Although negotiations were relatively smooth, Anderson indicated they were tedious enough for him to have some anxiety. "I wasn't involved in any of the negotiating, I stayed out of the money part," he said. "But I didn't want to offend them, so I made some phone calls and was assured that the talks were pleasant and professional.

"Dennis [Gilbert] has always done a great job for me, and I just told him to do the best that he could.

"Negotiations can take so long -- they've been talking pretty steadily for six weeks -- that I guess right now I'm kind of numb. It's a relief, I guess.

"When you're in the [negotiating] process, it almost seems like bTC you and the front office are enemies. But when it was over, to be able to thank Roland and have him say how much he appreciates me as a player makes me feel good."

With his deal finally done, Anderson was asked how he was going to celebrate. "We're having a surprise 90th birthday party for my grandmother, and I've got to hurry or I'm going to be late," he said.

It had to be a good party. Not everyone gets to celebrate 90 years and $10 million in the same day.

Yesterday's signing reduced to four the number of arbitration-eligible players still unsigned by the Orioles -- pitchers Ben McDonald and Alan Mills, outfielder Mike Devereaux and third baseman Leo Gomez.

* In other news, reliever Jeff Brantley, one of the free agents pursued by the Orioles, got away yesterday. The former San Francisco Giants right-hander reportedly turned down a slightly higher offer from the Orioles to accept $500,000, plus incentives, from Cincinnati.

It also appears that trade talks with the Mets concerning outfielder Bobby Bonilla have cooled. Both sides say there have been no discussions after the holidays.

The Orioles apparently are still interested in signing free-agent third baseman Chris Sabo, but those talks also are on hold. "I haven't talked to the Orioles in the last couple of days," said Jim Bronner, who represents Sabo.

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