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Bell and Dawson Seek $2 Million as MVP Winners

January 20, 1988|ROSS NEWHAN | Times Staff Writer

George Bell and Andre Dawson are attempting to turn their most valuable player awards of 1987 into real gold.

Each filed for a salary of $2 million or more Tuesday as eligible players and their clubs met the deadline for exchanging arbitration figures.

A total of 14 players who filed for arbitration before last Friday's deadline will be seeking to gain or maintain salaries of $1 million or more, including Dodger pitcher Orel Hershiser, who made $800,000 last year and filed at $1.25 million compared with the $950,000 submitted by the Dodgers.

The players and their clubs can continue to negotiate until their respective hearings begin in early February, at which point the arbitrator chooses either the figure submitted by the player or the figure submitted by the club.

Six Dodgers are pursuing the arbitration process, but the figures suggest that a compromise is possible in each case, including Hershiser's.

The latter received one of the largest arbitration raises ever when he went from $212,000 to $1 million after a 19-3 record in 1985. Then, in the wake of his 14-14 record in 1986, Hershiser became one of only six players ever to have his salary cut in arbitration, the $1 million being reduced to $800,000.

Now, having won 16 games and having the National League's third best earned-run average of 3.06 for an inept team, he is pursuing two objectives: either a $450,000 raise in arbitration or a multiyear contract through continued negotiations with the Dodgers. Of his six arbitration cases, Executive Vice President Fred Claire said the door is still open and that he spoke with each of the agents again Tuesday.

"We'll continue to work at it, keeping in mind that the numbers we've submitted already represent an increase over last year," he said.

The figures for the other five Dodgers:

--Mike Marshall, who made $670,000 while driving in 72 runs in 104 games, filed at $795,000. The Dodgers countered at $725,000.

--Alejandro Pena, who made $280,000 while saving 11 games, filed at $440,000. The Dodgers countered at $375,000.

--Franklin Stubbs, who made $144,000 while hitting 16 home runs and driving in 52 runs, filed at $260,000. The Dodgers countered at $190,000.

--Dave Anderson, the veteran utilityman who made $225,000 last year, filed at $285,000. The Dodgers countered at $240,000.

--Ken Howell, who made $170,000 during an injury-marred season that ultimately led to shoulder surgery in October, filed at $245,000. The Dodgers countered at $185,000.

The two eligible Angels also submitted salary figures Tuesday.

--Dick Schofield, who made $475,000 while leading American League shortstops in fielding percentage and batting a career-high .251, filed at $595,000. The Angels countered at $525,000.

--Bob Boone, the 40-year-old catcher who appeared in 128 games and made about $747,000 via salary, bonuses and pro-rated deferments, filed at $883,000. The Angels countered at $710,000.

Boone falls into a special category for players who have six or more years of major league service and were ineligible to file for free agency. In his case, it is the Angels who have seven days to decide if they want to arbitrate. If they don't, Boone then has the option to become a free agent or remain with the Angels by negotiating a new contract.

Boone received no offers when he tried free agency last year.

Boone's attorney, Arthur Rosenberg, said he had no clue of what the Angels will decide. Executive Vice President Mike Port, whose club is seemingly without alternatives behind the plate, could not be reached Tuesday.

"I certainly don't know the thinking behind a pay cut," Rosenberg said from his Philadelphia home. "Neither Bob or myself think it's deserved. He did win the Gold Glove again.

"We're hoping to have an arbitrator decide, but I can't predict what the Angels will do. You look at the figures and conclude there's an obvious difference of opinion as to Bob's value."

The value of Bell and Dawson can be measured, in part, by their postseason awards.

Bell won the American League's MVP with 47 home runs, 134 RBIs and a .308 batting average for the Toronto Blue Jays. He made $1,305,000 in salary and bonuses and filed at $2,105,000, an $800,000 raise. The Blue Jays filed at $1,725,000, meaning he is guaranteed a raise of $420,000.

If Bell or Dawson win, they would set an arbitration record. Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees set the record last year when he received $1.975 million in arbitration.

Dawson, who received $700,000 in salary and bonuses while hitting 49 homers and driving in 137 runs for the Chicago Cubs, filed at $2 million. The Cubs countered at $1.85 million, a seemingly negotiable difference. If the case goes to arbitration and Dawson loses, he will still receive a raise of $1,350,000 over his $500,000 salary of last year.

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