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BASEBALL EXTRA | AROUND THE LEAGUE

Glavine Will Be Richest Pitcher

May 22, 1997|Associated Press

Tom Glavine will become baseball's highest-paid pitcher after agreeing Wednesday to a $34-million, four-year contract extension with the Atlanta Braves.

Glavine's deal gives the Braves an option for 2002 that, if exercised, would push the deal's total to $42 million for five seasons. His average annual value of $8.5 million tops the $8.25 million Roger Clemens is averaging under his $24.75-million, three-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

In average annual value, the new deal is tied for fourth with Ken Griffey Jr., trailing Barry Bonds' extension ($11.45 million), Albert Belle's contract ($11 million) and Gary Sheffield's extension ($10,166,667).

Glavine is in the final year of a five-year contract and is earning $5 million this year. He told Atlanta television station WAGA that he expected the deal to be completed today.

"In this day and age with players moving all over the place, it's nice to have an opportunity to spend your entire career in one city. The fans have been great. The organization has been great," Glavine said.

In March, Glavine turned down an offer from the Braves for a three-year deal in the $20 million-$22 million range.

His agent, Gregg Clifton, met with team officials Wednesday afternoon.

"We've been in ongoing negotiations since before spring training. Tom had always expressed the desire to remain a Brave. I think this is a perfect situation when a player can became the highest-paid player at his position in his sport and still stay with the organization and the teammates he wants to be with," Clifton said.

The 31-year-old left-hander, who won the NL Cy Young Award in 1991, was baseball's winningest pitcher from 1991 to 1996 with 106 victories. Glavine, who is in his 10th season with Atlanta, is 5-2 with a 2.08 earned-run average.

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