Shapiro, O's meet on Ripken contract Player's agent brings up recent blockbuster deals

February 28, 1997|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

Orioles general manager Pat Gillick met with the agent for Cal Ripken yesterday, and the stalemate in Ripken's contract talks continues. According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the Orioles are offering a two-year extension for 1998 and 1999 at $6.2 million per season, with a $6.2 million option for the year 2000.

Ripken, who will earn $6.2 million this season in the final year of a five-year contract, is seeking a three-year deal worth $21.25 million, all guaranteed. Both sides appear entrenched in their respective positions, Ripken wanting the third year of the proposed deal guaranteed and the Orioles preferring to guarantee two years.

Ripken and Gillick have said they will cut off negotiations April 1, Opening Day. Ripken, 36, is eligible for free agency after this season.

Both sides are aware of the recent explosion of salaries, the huge contracts signed by Albert Belle (five years, $55 million) and Barry Bonds (two-year extension, $22.9 million), and the contract that Gary Sheffield is reportedly close to signing (six years, $60-$65 million).

Gillick acknowledged that Ripken's agent, Ron Shapiro, "did mention" those contracts yesterday. "That doesn't bother us," said Gillick, before smiling wryly. "The bad guys get more, the good guys get less."

Ripken said, "From a players' perspective, it's important that salaries continue to rise. How that impacts individual negotiations, generally speaking -- it's good for the player. I think overall it would be helpful when you raise the ceiling; it pulls up the salary level for everyone."

Gillick was asked if those contracts would affect the way the Orioles are negotiating. "Probably not," he responded. "We've got a pretty good handle on where this should be. This is a little bit difficult situation. I think Cal's desire is he'd like to finish his career in Baltimore.

"Ron understands that. [Ripken] is at a little different point in his baseball career than those guys, a little different category."

Pub Date: 2/28/97

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