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View Full Version : Tons of Contract news. Lee, Foulke, Buehrle


Jerry_Manuel
07-29-2001, 12:09 AM
By Paul Sullivan
Tribune staff reporter
July 28, 2001 9:52 PM CDT
BOSTON - Magglio Ordonez and Manny Ramirez were having a discussion before Friday's game in Fenway Park, perhaps comparing their mutual funds.

In his first five seasons, Ordonez put up numbers comparable to those of Ramirez, who signed an eight-year, $160 million deal during the winter. On Friday night, Ordonez was rewarded with a three-year extension from the White Sox worth $29.5 million.

White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf opened his wallet extra wide this time, also giving reliever Bob Howry a two-year extension worth $3.2 million, along with a club option for 2004.

"They're keeping this team together," Ordonez said. "We're going to be OK. We have a good team, and I'm real excited to get it done.

"Now we also have Howry [signed], and maybe Carlos [Lee] and [Keith] Foulke will be next."

Instead of dumping salaries before the trading deadline, the Sox decided to get rid of James Baldwin and then re-sign some of their core players. The Sox have 10 players signed for next year at a combined $44 million: Ordonez, Howry, Frank Thomas, Ray Durham, Jose Valentin, Royce Clayton, Paul Konerko, Antonio Osuna, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Jim Parque.

General manager Ken Williams is still trying to negotiate a two-year extension for Foulke, who figures to at least double his $3.1 million salary if he goes to arbitration next year. With Sean Lowe expected to triple his $300,000 salary in arbitration, the Sox's 2002 payroll would be at $51 million for only 12 players, meaning the team easily should surpass this year's Opening Day payroll of $63 million.

"One of the things they talked about was what a strong core we have, and in order to keep that together it's nice to see them knock some of the guys' [salaries] up," Howry said. "It's showing they're trying to keep this team together, and takes that little something out of the guys' minds so we can just worry about playing ball."

Ordonez, 27, is a three-time All-Star who has hit 81 home runs and driven in 306 runs since the start of the '99 season. Ordonez's average salary of $9.8 million per year will make him the second-highest-paid player on the team behind Thomas' average of $9.9 million.

But almost $4 million of Thomas' salary is deferred every year. Ordonez insisted that he have no deferred payments in his deal.

He originally wanted four years at $40 million, but settled for the Sox's offer of three. The Sox came up significantly from the winter offer of $24 million for four years.

"I'm happy with three years, and the Sox are happy," Ordonez said. "It's good for both of us."

Howry, coming off shoulder surgery and having an up-and-down season with a 4.96 earned-run average, was satisfied that the Sox gave him some security while he tries to regain his form from '99.

He is obviously the fallback for the Sox at closer if they can't re-sign Foulke. Though Foulke won't become a free agent until after 2003, the Sox want to seal him up before he heads to arbitration again.

"The timing is right to get something done," Williams said. "The arbitration table is something I'd like to avoid."

Foulke isn't confident a deal will get done soon.

"We've been trying to work out a contract for two years now," Foulke said. "But it comes to a point of, 'Are you going to take care of me?'

"If I keep going to arbitration, if they're not going to help me out, I'm not going to stick around."

Howry saved 29 games for the Sox in '99, before being switched to setup man for Foulke. He hasn't given up on being a closer yet.

"If sometime I get that opportunity again, it'd be great," Howry said. "I'm not worried about it. Keith is doing a great job. As long as he's here, I'll be happy just setting up for him."

Williams signed Konerko to a two-year, $6.1 million deal in January and said he wants to tie up Lee with a multiyear deal. Though Mark Buehrle is still two years away from arbitration, Williams also wants to reward him for his stellar season with a multiyear deal.

In the early '90s, Cleveland general manager John Hart tied up several of his young players early in their careers, including Albert Belle, Carlos Baerga and Kenny Lofton, enabling the team to grow up together. Williams is following a similar game plan, albeit at a much different salary level.

"The salaries were lower [in Cleveland], and so the risk was not as great," Williams said. "But we're dealing with where the market is right now."

Tragg
07-29-2001, 10:09 AM
What will Foulke legitimately ask for?

Tom Glavine makes 9.5 million.
Greg Maddux makes 13 million.

Foule is a closer (not as valuable as a starter) and hasn't accomplished what these two have. I'd think 5-6 million.

There's a reason he might want to start - more $$$$$ if you are as good a starter as you are a closer.

Daver
07-29-2001, 11:19 AM
By going to arbitration he will be paid the average of the top five closers in the league,which,I think,would put him in the 7.5 to 9 mil range.

Tragg
07-29-2001, 11:25 AM
Who besides Rivera makes that kind of money? Percival? That's a high, high market.

I don't think it's worth it.

Daver
07-29-2001, 11:29 AM
I've been saying for a month that a 2 pitch pitcher isn't worth it and I get flamed for it everytime.

KempersRS
07-29-2001, 11:42 AM
Daver, I agree, and yes we do get flamed for it, but I'll keep saying it.