SAN DIEGO — Steve Garvey, who formally declared himself a free agent Thursday, will approach the Dodgers next week and request a one-year, career-concluding contract, according to agent Jerry Kapstein.
Kapstein said that Garvey, whose $1.45-million-a-year contract with the Padres expired Oct.4, will attempt to meet with the Dodgers as soon as Tuesday, the first day free-agent negotiations are allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. He said the 38-year-old Garvey will offer the Dodgers three assurances:
--He will accept a role as a part-time player.
--He will accept a "substantial" pay cut.
--If his left shoulder, which underwent surgery last May, has not healed so that Garvey is "100% and ready to play," the deal will be called off.
"Steve would like to play for the Dodgers, and we plan to begin discussions as soon as next week," said Kapstein of the team with whom Garvey spent his first 14 major league seasons. "He has a very long, fine history with the Dodgers and, if he can't stay in San Diego, with the Dodgers is where he would like to be. It's a personal preference"
Top Dodger officials, who cannot talk to Garvey until Tuesday, were out of town Thursday night and unavailable for comment.
Kapstein said Garvey hopes to agree upon a deal, then sign it in six to eight weeks after completing winter rehabilitation of his injured shoulder.
"Steve does not want to sign a deal until it is clear he is ready to play," Kapstein said. "Ideally, we could agree on something, and then sign it around the first of January, when it is obvious Steve's shoulder is 100%."
Kapstein said there is no doubt that this would be Garvey's final year: "He just wants one more year in the game, if this is possible."
The most popular and prominent Padre ever, first baseman Garvey's physical problems forced him to spend four months of his final season here out of uniform. On May 25, he was placed on the disabled list with a biceps tendon tear in his left shoulder. Five days later, he underwent surgery and was lost for the season. At the time, he had played in 27 games and was hitting .211 with 1 homer and 9 RBIs.
Because of the injury and because of the rule that restricts teams from cutting players by more than 20%, Padre President Chub Feeney refused to re-sign Garvey. He instead offered to bring Garvey to spring training on a make-good basis.
After Garvey did not agree to that, according to sources, Feeney decided he would leave Garvey on the roster until the last possible day, Dec. 20, at which point he would have been released and become a free agent, anyway.
"Chub was very up front with us, made things very clear to us; we hold no animosity toward him," said Kapstein. "But we wanted to get Steve's future in line as soon as possible. We didn't want to waste six weeks that we could have been talking. As soon as possible, we wanted to explore the Dodgers' interest."
During his five-year career in San Diego, Garvey led the team to its only World Series appearance (1984) and set a major league record that year by playing in 159 games at first base without an error. He set a National League record in 1983 when he played in his 1,118th consecutive game, a streak that would end at 1,207.