Olson signs Milligan, Devereaux are renewed


BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles cleared away the rest of their off-season business yesterday when the club signed reliever Gregg Olson to a one-year contract and renewed the contracts of Randy Milligan and Mike Devereaux.

Olson, who set an Orioles record when he saved 37 games in 1990, agreed to a $505,000 contract and incentive package that is the richest signed by a pitcher in his service class who was not eligible for salary arbitration. It is the third-highest salary among all players in that class, behind Matt Williams and Ken Griffey Jr.

"This was a challenge to negotiate, given the fact that Gregg Olson is on the cutting edge of his service class in terms of both compensation and achievement," agent Jeff Moorad said. "In the end, however, Larry Lucchino and Roland Hemond were very fair in their approach."

Moorad and associate Leigh Steinberg went to Washington during the weekend to meet with Lucchino and club counsel Lon Babby. There was serious discussion of a multiyear deal, said Moorad, but a compromise could not be reached.

In addition to Olson's base salary, he will receive a $20,000 bonus if he makes the All-Star team, a $75,000 bonus if he wins either the Cy Young Award or the Rolaids Relief Man Award, $40,000 for placing second in the Rolaids ranking system, $30,000 for placing third and $20,000 for fourth. He also will receive a $50,000 bonus if he is the playoff MVP and $50,000 if he is the World Series MVP.

Olson has announced that he will donate $100 for every win and save to the Maryland Combined Health Agencies and will also make a donation to the baseball program at Omaha's Northwest High School, which he attended.

The Orioles were not quite so generous with Milligan and Devereaux, though Milligan's $330,000 salary for 1991 is more than double what he made last year ($155,000). Devereaux was renewed for $210,000, a relatively modest raise over his 1990 salary of $145,000.

"It's a business and they made a business decision for them and for me," Devereaux said. "I'm signed. It's over. Now it's time to worry about spring training and the season. That's about it."

Like Olson, both Milligan and Devereaux will be eligible for salary arbitration next season. They were largely at the mercy of the club this time around, but will have decidedly more leverage next January.

* Right-hander Ben McDonald continued to show why he's already considered the ace of the Orioles pitching staff. He pitched four innings and gave up one hit yesterday in his second appearance of the Grapefruit League exhibition season.

"I felt good," McDonald said. "I still feel a little awkward with my mechanics. As far as being down in the strike zone, I was happy, but I have a lot of work to do on my curveball."

The opposing hitters haven't noticed. McDonald has pitched seven innings in exhibition play and has yet to give up a run.

"My arm was a little tired today," he said, "but this is the last day I'll be pitching on three days' rest. It'll get better when were in a regular five-man rotation."

* The pitcher of record in the Orioles' 3-2 victory yesterday was newcomer Roy Smith, who went two scoreless innings.

* Minor-league outfielders Luis Mercedes and Chito Martinez had three hits each as the Orioles scored a 7-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox in yesterday's "B" game at Ed Smith Stadium.

The Orioles scored three runs on seven hits off losing pitcher Charlie Hough in a 14-hit attack.

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