Arbitration looms with Devereaux, Mills talks unresolved

February 02, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Sun Staff Writer

Not all of the Orioles' attention is centered on free agents these days. They also have two salary negotiations that have to be settled within 10 days if arbitration hearings are to be avoided.

Pitcher Alan Mills' case is scheduled to be heard a week from tomorrow, Feb. 10, with outfielder Mike Devereaux on deck 24 hours later. Both hearings are in Chicago.

The Orioles apparently have made some progress toward resolving the issue with Devereaux, but aren't any closer to an agreement with Mills.

Devereaux, who is represented by Ray Anderson, has asked for a 31 percent increase, from $3.025 million to $3.95 million, while the club has offered a $100,000 raise.

Mills, whose negotiations are handled by Adam Katz, is seeking a 143 percent increase, from $350,000 to $850,000, with the club offering $500,000.

"I'd rather not comment," Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said of the negotiations. "It [arbitration] is part of the process and we'll continue to talk, keep the dialogue going."

Anderson, who talked to Hemond yesterday, said he feels some progress has been made, but Katz said he's had no discussions with the Orioles since the proposed salary figures were exchanged Jan. 18.

"We've had a couple of discussions," said Anderson, "and there's a strong desire on both sides to try to avoid arbitration. I think the last thing either side wants is to go before an arbitrator.

"We've made a little bit of headway, but we still have more road to travel, that's for sure," said Anderson. "If we're going to get it done, I think we'll have to do it within the next week."

The dollar difference between the Orioles and Mills is not as great as it is with Devereaux, but represents a significantly bigger percentage. To this point, there has been no movement by either side, primarily because there hasn't been any contact.

"We haven't had any discussions, but we're always hopeful," said Katz. "We respect them, and a harmonious settlement is always preferable to an acrimonious victory."

If the negotiations are not resolved before the arbitration dates, the Orioles will not argue the cases with any of their own personnel.

They are among the many clubs that have enlisted the services of former major-league general manager Tal Smith to present management's case at the hearings.

* Orioles assistant general manager Frank Robinson spoke again yesterday with Dennis Gilbert, the agent who represents Rene Gonzales, and could be close to signing the utility infielder who was an Oriole for four seasons.

"He [Gilbert] was tied up most of the day with an arbitration case, and wants to run everything by Gonzo," said Robinson.

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