O's meet with Ripken's agent progress seen in Mussina talks

February 04, 1997|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

Orioles officials met with the agent for third baseman Cal Ripken yesterday and may talk with pitcher Mike Mussina again today in their efforts to negotiate long-term contracts for two of their most prominent players.

Ron Shapiro, Ripken's agent, talked at length with general manager Pat Gillick at the Camden Yards offices. Ripken, 36, will make $6.2 million this season, and then could become a free agent.

In talks last month, league sources say, Ripken's representatives expressed a desire for a four-year deal, while the Orioles talked more along the lines of a three-year contract. Some within the organization believe Ripken will seek a deal worth about $7.5 million to $8 million per season. The Orioles, on the other hand, may want to hold Ripken's salary something close to what he's currently earning.

"I thought it went all right. It was upbeat, a good conversation," said Gillick, who would not elaborate on specific discussions.

Shapiro declined to discuss the negotiations.

The Orioles seemed to be making progress in negotiations with Mussina. The pitcher and his agent, Arn Tellem, met with club counsel Russell Smouse, Gillick and assistant GM Kevin Malone last week. Afterward, Mussina said he was sure a deal could be reached soon.

Smouse, Gillick, Tellem and Mussina participated in a conference call Saturday. "I think we'll have something soon," Mussina said Sunday.

NOTES: The Orioles signed free-agent outfielder Eric Fox and first baseman Jose Tolentino to minor-league contracts. Fox has played 116 games in the majors, last appearing in 10 games for the Texas Rangers in 1995, going 0-for-15.

Pub Date: 2/04/97

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