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Gibson, Six Others Are Free for the Taking, So to Speak : An Arbitrator Restores Them as Free Agents

January 23, 1988|ROSS NEWHAN | Times Staff Writer

A month later, Dr. Robert Watkins removed a bone spur from near Moore's spinal column and said that it probably had been the cause of a nerve irritation in the rib area, causing the problems Moore had complained about for two years.

"I'm perfectly healthy now, but I know it will be tough proving that until I start throwing (Feb. 1)," Moore said. "I can't really tell anyone that I'm 100% until I do, but I don't foresee any problems."

Pinter said he will first talk with the pitching-suspect Yankees. In fact, he talked with General Manager Lou Piniella Friday and told Piniella he would be willing to take Moore to New York for a physical exam and accept the same $850,000 Moore is guaranteed by the Angels if the Yankees were to allow Moore to become a free agent again after the 1988 season.

"Lou seemed interested and said he would talk to me again before Monday," Pinter said. "I also plan to talk to Bobby Cox in Atlanta (where Moore was employed before joining the Angels)."

Said Moore: "I have the feeling that I'll be staying, and that's fine. It'll give me a chance to prove something to Port. It'll give me a chance to do some things that can only work to the Angels' advantage."

The exception to all these question marks is Gibson. Now 31 and still an obvious offensive threat, Gibson said Friday that the least this ruling should do for him is influence the Tigers to provide an extension on the 3-year, $4.1-million contract that expires when the 1988 season ends.

Would he leave if offered the chance?

"I'll follow my emotions," he said. "Three clubs (the Dodgers, Yankees and Seattle Mariners) were interested in trading for me, so it would be hard to believe they wouldn't be interested in signing me as a free agent.

"I mean, the owners better get their act together and at least have Cleveland make me an offer or we'll be back in court."

The Dodgers and Tigers had agreed in principal to a Guerrero-Gibson trade at the winter baseball meetings but the Dodgers backed out because of the uncertainty of Gibson's status in the collusion case.

Fred Claire, the Dodgers' executive vice president, said Friday he was not prepared to comment on Gibson's availability.

Fehr was.

"If the Dodgers were willing to trade for him, I don't know why they wouldn't want to sign him as a free agent and trade Guerrero for a couple of young pitchers," he said.

Arbitrator Roberts refused to comment, on Gibson or anything else.

His ruling, however, made it clear that he will maintain jurisdiction over the seven new free agents and that he intends to keep a careful eye on their negotiations, which assumes either that there will be negotiations or that there had better be.

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