Hammonds agrees to 1-year O's deal Next hurdle is making club for outfielder

February 05, 1997|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

Outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Orioles yesterday, leaving pitcher Mike Mussina as the club's only remaining unsigned player eligible for arbitration.

Hammonds signed for a $400,000 base salary, with incentives that could push his total earnings over $500,000. Hammonds will get $25,000 if he reaches 300 plate appearances; an additional $30,000 for 350 plate appearances; an additional $35,000 for 400 plate appearances; and an additional $50,000 for 450 plate appearances. If Hammonds reaches all of his incentives, he'll earn $540,000.

Hammonds had asked for $550,000 in arbitration, and the Orioles were offering $375,000. Initially, Orioles assistant general manager Kevin Malone said he didn't believe the case would be settled before the scheduled Feb. 19 hearing.

"This is a good deal for both sides," said Malone. "It's got a lot of upside if he plays for us."

To repeat: If he plays for the Orioles. The team has acquired several outfielders since last season -- Eric Davis, Jerome Walton and Kelly Gruber -- and Hammonds will have to play well in spring training to avoid being sent to the minors or traded.

Mussina's hearing is scheduled for Feb. 21, though he and the team continue to discuss a long-term deal. Mussina's agent, Arn Tellem, is expected to speak with club counsel Russell Smouse and GM Pat Gillick today.

Pub Date: 2/05/97

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