Anderson says he rejected O's offer Outfielder seeking 'serious' extension of more than 2 years

Team declines to comment

Players union ratifies new labor agreement

December 06, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Buster Olney contributed to this article.

A representative for outfielder Brady Anderson said yesterday that he rejected an initial offer from the Orioles for a two-year contract extension, but Anderson said he does not think serious negotiations have begun.

Anderson, 33, who last season became the first player in club history to hit 50 homers, is signed through next season for $4 million. The Orioles expressed interest in extending Anderson's contract in late October, when they exercised his option for 1997.

Jeff Borris, one of Anderson's representatives, said the Orioles offered the two-time All-Star a deal worth $4 million a season for 1998 and 1999 a few weeks ago.

"It's my understanding that there's never been a very serious negotiation," Anderson said. "I never talked to any of [the Orioles' officials] about specifics. I guess we talked in generalities about it at the end of the season. They're probably busy with other stuff. I don't think they've gotten around to me yet."

In other Orioles news, under the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement ratified yesterday by the Major League Baseball Players Association, reliever Jesse Orosco's $850,000, one-year contract is considered final and he will not gain the right to free agency.

On whether the Orioles had made an offer to Anderson, general manager Pat Gillick declined to comment. He said the team has not had any recent discussions about Anderson, but added, "We might at some point, but it's not on our mind right now."

Anderson said he always has maintained his desire to remain with the Orioles for as long as possible. "Whether it hurts my negotiating position or not, they know I want to stay in Baltimore for the rest of my career," Anderson said. "The extension should definitely be for more years if it's going to be serious."

Anderson set career highs in hits (172), runs (117), homers (50) and RBIs (110) in 1996, hitting primarily in the leadoff spot while moving from left to center field. He Anderson also set major-league records by leading off four straight games with homers and 12 in all. His 34 homers while batting leadoff set an American League record.

"I think [the offer] was grossly under what the fair-market value is for a player of Brady's caliber, even if you take away the 50-home-run season," Borris said. "We're not talking [to the Orioles] about it right now and we don't know what the future holds. We'll have to play this season and see."

Anderson, who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox in 1988, has a career .258 average with the Orioles. His previous high in home runs was 21 in 1992, his other All-Star season.

"I want to get the deal done," Anderson said. "I want to stay in Baltimore. I'm also very confident in my abilities.

"I'm not afraid to show the Orioles what my value is. The only way to show them -- if they're not convinced what I'm worth -- is when other teams are bidding."

The Orioles also are looking for a supporting cast to assemble around Anderson in the outfield.

Pete Incaviglia's agent, Tony Attanasio, said he had been trying to speak with Gillick for some time before their discussion Monday. Incaviglia, 32, was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in August and hit .303 for the Orioles during their push to the playoffs. He made $325,000 last season.

Incaviglia would provide the Orioles with some power as a part-time outfielder, designated hitter and pinch hitter. He also is regarded as a great team player who doesn't mind a limited role.

"We talked about the possibility of Inky coming back and I expressed that Inky had interest in coming back to Baltimore," Attanasio said. "We're now to the stage where they're going to get back to us and let us know what they feel they can do. We're looking for [a proposal] in the next few days."

Shane Mack, who, like Incaviglia bats right-handed, could be another option in the outfield. Mack's agent said he did not hear from the Orioles yesterday, but speaks with the Oakland Athletics on a daily basis.

Mack, who turns 33 this week, spent the last two years in Japan, but has a .299 lifetime average and hit .333 with 15 homers in 1994, his last season in the majors. Mack's representative would not comment on offers from other teams, including the A's, and said he expects the list of four teams courting Mack to be cut in half by the end of the week.

Gillick says the Orioles still are pursuing Mack.

In other news, Orioles officials believe the Dodgers have reached an agreement with free agent Todd Zeile but are holding off from making an announcement before tomorrow only because they don't want to give the Orioles a draft pick as compensation. The Orioles may file a grievance in an attempt to get some form of compensation.

Zeile's agent, Seth Levinson, would be stunned if the Orioles pursued the matter. "I hold both Pat Gillick and [assistant GM] Kevin Malone in the highest regard," said Levinson, "and I refuse to believe it's within their character to make a frivolous or specious claim."

A clause in Zeile's contract prevents the Orioles from offering him arbitration before tomorrow'sdeadline, a move that would ensure them a draft pick when Zeile signs elsewhere. Levinson said the Orioles were well aware of the clause when they traded for Zeile, and have made no attempt to sign him, even though Zeile made it clear he would like to stay.

"There is no agreement [with the Dodgers]," Levinson said, "and if the Orioles choose to make Zeile an offer today that is a reflection of what we believe is Todd's value, he'll be an Oriole tomorrow."

Pub Date: 12/06/96

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