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Angels, Davis Close to Contract Accord : Business: Proposed deal would cover three years for an estimated $11.25 million. However, the Autrys might be concerned about what other owners would say about the offer.

October 19, 1994|BOB NIGHTENGALE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM — The Angels are close to a deal with designated hitter Chili Davis on a three-year contract worth about $11.25 million, according to sources.

The contract still must be presented to owner Jackie Autry for approval, but each side was optimistic Tuesday that a deal could be completed within two weeks.

"From my perspective and understanding of the situation, everybody is in agreement where Chili belongs," said Adam Katz, who along with Tom Reich represents Davis. "We're approaching an agreement in a philosophical way. There are no major disagreements."

Said Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi: "I think we're close. I think it can be resolved, one way or the other, in the not-so distant future. We just have to be awfully careful. The dollars we're talking about really extends this organization."

The Angels, who have committed $16 million to eight players for the 1995 season, must make a decision today whether to offer arbitration rights to Davis. They are inclined not to offer Davis arbitration rights, sources said, for fear Davis would earn $4.5 million to $5 million for the 1995 season. They prefer paying Davis a contract that would average $3.75 million a year.

Davis would become an unrestricted free agent if the Angels do not offer him arbitration rights by today's deadline. The Angels could still re-sign Davis, but they likely would be competing with at least three or four American League teams for his services.

"I think everybody in this organization wants to bring Chili back," Angel President Richard Brown said. "Certainly, Chili would be a prize in anybody's lineup. Without Chili, it leaves a power void in our lineup. But it's still very, very difficult to do something under the current economic system."

Bavasi traveled Tuesday to the Autrys' home in Palm Springs for a 2 1/2-hour meeting to discuss, among other matters, the signing of Davis. Bavasi considers Davis the Angels' top priority if they are to be competitive in the American League West.

The Autrys, however, have voiced concerns about the signing of Davis.

They are attempting to sell a minority interest in the club, and are worried that prospective buyers would not want to be responsible for Davis' contract.

There also is the concern that their peers would frown upon such a lucrative contract while baseball is on strike.

Meanwhile, outfielder/designated hitter Bo Jackson and utilityman Rex Hudler filed for free agency Tuesday. Bavasi said he would attempt to re-sign both players.

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