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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT | AROUND THE MAJORS

Vaughn Signs for 3 Years, $18.6 Million

February 17, 1996|Associated Press

Mo Vaughn agreed to an $18.6-million, three-year contract that makes him the highest-paid player in Boston Red Sox history and ends drawn-out, often testy negotiations.

The average annual salary of $6.2 million for the American League most valuable player exceeds the team-record $5.5 million Roger Clemens will make this season.

The deal has a mutual option for 1999 that could make the contract worth $25.05 million.

But Vaughn stressed he'd like to stay with the Red Sox beyond the three years.

"It will be my first choice always because they went out on a limb for me," he said.

The first baseman couldn't have become a free agent until after the 1997 season, so the Red Sox got only one extra year of control over Vaughn while giving him an increase from his $2.7-million salary last season. The sides avoided an arbitration hearing scheduled Monday in which Vaughn asked for $6.1 million and the team offered $4.2 million.

Vaughn gets $6.1 million in each of the next three seasons. The Red Sox must decide on Nov. 1, 1998, whether to offer a $6.75-million option. If he declines, he gets a $300,000 buyout.

Vaughn had career highs last year of 39 homers and 126 RBIs with a .300 batting average. He tied for first in the American League in RBIs, was fourth in homers and fifth in total bases.

The Red Sox lost their arbitration case with pitcher Mike Stanton, then reached an agreement with pitcher Stan Belinda before his scheduled afternoon hearing.

Stanton, 1-0 with a 3.00 earned-run average last year, will get the $1.75 million he had sought. The Red Sox offered $1.2 million, a 20% cut from last year's $1.5 million. Belinda will earn $1.2 million after going 8-1 with a 3.10 ERA.

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Texas Ranger catcher Ivan Rodriguez became the first player to lose his arbitration case and still wound up with a nearly 50% raise to $4 million.

Rodriguez, a four-time All-Star, had asked for $4.95 million. He made $2.6 million last season.

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Left-hander Steve Avery won his arbitration case on the eve of the opening of spring training workouts for the World Series champion Atlanta Braves.

Avery was awarded $4.2 million by arbitrator Anthony Sinicropi, following Thursday's hearing in New York. The Braves had offered $3.6 million.

Avery had a $4-million salary last year, when he was 7-13 with a 4.67 ERA. He said he was "ready to sign for the same amount the day after the season ended," but decided to go to arbitration after the Braves tried to cut his salary.

Meanwhile, Chipper Jones, runner-up to Hideo Nomo as National League rookie of the year in 1995, agreed to an $8.25-million, four-year contract with the Braves.

Jones, 23, a switch-hitting third baseman, batted .268 with 23 home runs and 86 RBIs in his first season with Atlanta. He hit .364 with three homers and eight RBIs during the postseason.

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The New York Mets signed free-agent outfielder Gary Varsho as a non-roster invitee. Varsho batted .252 in 103 at-bats with the Philadelphia Phillies last season. . . . Former Cincinnati Red and Detroit Tiger manager Sparky Anderson has agreed to be grand marshal of Cincinnati's annual opening day parade April 1.

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