Steve Balboni, whose base salary was cut $425,000 last year after the Kansas City Royals allowed him to become a free agent, was one of 19 players who became free agents when their clubs failed to offer contracts for 1988.
Five players on the World Series champion Minnesota Twins were not offered contracts--Don Baylor, who made $749,618 last year; Dan Schatzeder, who made $425,00; Sal Butera, who made $137,500; Steve Carlton and Mike Smithson.
Reggie Jackson, who made $536,838 last year, and Bill Caudill of the Oakland Athletics, were not offered contracts. Neither were Mike Easler and Ron Kittle of the Yankees, Bob Forsch and Bill Dawley of the Cardinals, Darrell Porter and Greg Harris of the Rangers, Glenn Hubbard of the Braves and Buddy Biancalana of the Astros.
Other players not offered contracts were Ron Washington of the Orioles, Stewart Cliburn of the Angels, Jay Baller of the Cubs and Glenn Hoffman of the Dodgers.
By not offering contracts, clubs may re-sign the players and cut their salaries by more than 20%, the maximum allowed otherwise by baseball rules. The downside for a team taking the gamble of not re-signing players is the players are free to sign with other teams.