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Dodgers and Catcher Mike Scioscia Set to Meet With Arbitrator Today

February 17, 1986|GORDON EDES | Times Staff Writer

The Dodgers, who exhibited their flair for last-minute negotiations by signing Fernando Valenzuela to a $5.5 million contract on Saturday, have another chance to avoid arbitration today with catcher Mike Scioscia.

Like Valenzuela was before signing, Scioscia is eligible to become a free agent after this season, and the Dodgers have discussed signing him for three years, as they did with Valenzuela.

But Scioscia's attorney, Richie Phillips, said Sunday night that he has not talked with the Dodgers since last Tuesday, and sees little reason to believe that there will be a settlement before today's hearing, to be conducted by arbitrator Richard Kaegel. "It looks like we're going in," Phillips said. "I don't know if they've had a change of heart, but we're ready to go."

Scioscia, who fell four percentage points short of becoming the first Dodger catcher since Roy Campanella in 1955 to hit .300 in a season, has a .500 record in prior arbitration cases. He won $435,000 last winter after having to settle for $175,000 in '84. This time, he is seeking $825,000, while the Dodgers are offering $650,000.

Scioscia's case appeared to be strengthened on Saturday when the Chicago Cubs signed catcher Jody Davis to a three-year deal for a reported $2.9 million. Davis had a base salary of $315,000 last season, but with incentive clauses and bonuses, he made approximately the same as the Dodger catcher.

In 1985, Scioscia had a higher average than Davis (.296 to .232) and almost as many RBIs (53 to 58). And while Davis had 10 more home runs (17 to 7), Scioscia had a higher slugging percentage (.420 to .400) and on-base percentage (.407 to .300).

"The impact (of Davis' signing) ought to be tremendous on the arbitration," Phillips said.

One other case remains to be heard--Orel Hershiser's million-dollar bid, scheduled for Wednesday.

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