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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : AROUND THE MAJOR LEAGUES

Knoblauch Deal May Signal Agreement

August 24, 1996|ROSS NEWHAN

The Minnesota Twins signed second baseman Chuck Knoblauch to a five-year, $30-million contract extension Friday. The move seemed to underscore the view of both management and player sources that a new labor agreement probably will be reached when negotiations resume Monday in New York.

The small-market Twins would receive about $12.5 million from their big-market partners under the revenue-sharing terms of a new labor agreement.

Knoblauch had recently rejected a four-year, $22.5-million offer from the Twins. However, the club's new offer may have been facilitated by knowledge of an imminent windfall through revenue sharing.

Knoblauch had been one of 19 players who could become free agents if a new labor agreement includes service time credit, as ultimately expected, for the 75 regular-season days they were on strike.

His new contract matches the five-year, $30-million deal the Twins gave the now retired Kirby Puckett after the 1992 season and also enables Knoblauch to match Baltimore's Roberto Alomar as baseball's highest-paid second basemen on a per-year basis. Alomar has a three-year, $18-million contract.

The deal was announced by owner Carl Pohlad on his 81st birthday, and Knoblauch, who is batting .350 and ranks among American League leaders in several offensive categories, said: "I can't tell you how happy I am. This will finally end all the rumors and speculation."

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