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Home cooking pays off for O's Anderson enjoyed sit-downs with owner

Beck signing unlikely

December 09, 1997|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

Like Ripken and Mussina, Anderson also signed for less to remain with the Orioles. The Atlanta Braves briefly offered Anderson a four-year, $30 million contract. On Saturday, the Indians made a four-year, $28 million bid that served as a catalyst for Anderson and Angelos hammering out a final deal.

Anderson reiterated yesterday that the Indians' offer added "urgency" to what had been sluggish negotiations. Anderson told agents Jeff Borris and Dennis Gilbert to counter the Indians' initial bid with a four-year, $32 million request.

Had Angelos not increased his bid by $1 million last Saturday, and the Indians had responded favorably, Anderson would have felt bound to take Cleveland's offer. (Yesterday, the Indians signed free agent Kenny Lofton to a three-year, $24 million deal.)

Anderson conceded he had difficulty, though, envisioning himself playing in Yankees pinstripes.

"I like black and white. I had kind of a good picture of what it was going to be like," he said of a Yankees offer that never came. "But then I'd go home, lay in bed at night and think about walking into Yankee Stadium as a home player. It felt strange. I just couldn't do it. When I imagined it, it made me feel even stronger that I wanted to stay with the Orioles."

Anderson didn't sign until after the afternoon news conference when he met with club counsel Russell Smouse. Anderson sought to have the final year of his contract restructured with $5 million of the $6 million classified as a signing bonus. The arrangement calls for Anderson to receive only $1 million during the 2002 season with a $5 million lump-sum payment scheduled for December.

The move would protect Anderson in case of a players' strike or lockout that year, when the Basic Agreement is set to expire. In case of a strike, players lose salary but still must be paid bonus money.

Pub Date: 12/09/97

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