Anderson to get pitch from Yanks New York is believed to be ready to better Braves' $30M offer

O's apparently go to $25M

B. Williams' status forcing Yankees' hand

November 21, 1997|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

PHOENIX -- As Orioles owner Peter Angelos tries to salvage faltering negotiations, the competition for free-agent outfielder Brady Anderson may intensify today. The New York Yankees are believed ready to extend a four-year offer thought to exceed the $30 million package tendered Wednesday by the Atlanta Braves.

Angelos and Anderson met last night for a second consecutive day. While Angelos continues to reject Anderson's demand for a five-year contract in return for accepting less salary from the Orioles, the club apparently improved its offer from $23 million to $25 million. It is the Orioles' first salary concession since early August.

"I want to keep Brady in Baltimore, and I think he wants to stay here," Angelos said before last night's meeting. "Hopefully, we can get something done."

Angelos said afterward that the meeting went well and that he is still confident he and Anderson can forge an agreement.

But Angelos finds himself working in an increasingly crowded pool. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies also are considering offers.

The Yankees' interest comes amid swelling uncertainty regarding center fielder Bernie Williams. Entering his final year before free agency, Williams is seeking a contract extension worth more than $10 million per season. So far Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has declined to negotiate with Williams' agent, Scott Boras. While Anderson's contract demands seem excessive to Angelos, the center fielder represents a relative bargain to the Yankees and Braves.

The Yankees are believed to be entertaining an offer worth $8 million per season, $1 million more than Angelos will even consider.

Steinbrenner has reportedly sent a memo to general manager Bob Watson directing him to exceed the Braves' offer.

The Braves freed $10.5 million Tuesday night by dealing first baseman Fred McGriff to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but spent some of that money yesterday by signing free-agent first baseman Andres Galarraga to a $24.75 million, three-year contract.

General manager John Schuerholz and president Stan Kasten met with Anderson's agent, Jeff Borris, on Wednesday morning, and remain interested in signing Anderson to replace free-agent center fielder Kenny Lofton.

Angelos continues to play on Anderson's oft-stated love for Baltimore, his teammates and the team's fans. Anderson has conceded the Orioles possess a "home-field advantage" but must satisfy his demand for a five-year deal. It is believed the Orioles' "advantage" translates to $500,000 per season.

During Wednesday night's meeting, Anderson first suggested the Orioles give him a seven-year contract, which would make him 40 at its expiration.

The Orioles continue to ponder alternatives to Anderson, including free-agent center fielder Otis Nixon and Jeffrey Hammonds.

Pub Date: 11/21/97

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