Olson rises to head of 2-year salary class

BRADENTON, FLA. — BRADENTON, Fla. -- Gregg Olson became the highest pai player in his service group yesterday, but Randy Milligan and Mike Devereaux had their contracts renewed for less than the Orioles' most recent offers.

Yesterday was the deadline for teams to exercise their option to renew contracts. A weekend of intense face-to-face negotiations between Olson representatives Jeff Moorad and Leigh Steinberg, and club president Larry Lucchino and general counsel Lon Babby produced an agreement with the All-Star reliever.


Olson will be paid a base salary of $505,000 and has several "honors" clauses that could enable him to reach the $700,000 range.

Milligan, who made $155,000 last year, had his contract renewed for $330,000. Devereaux, who was paid $145,000 last year, was renewed for $210,000. Negotiations with both players can be reopened at any time.


"We're open to that," said Ray Anderson, who represents Milligan and Devereaux. "We're big boys."

Anderson confirmed that the figures the Orioles used in exercising the renewals were less than the most recent offers.

The only two-year players without arbitration eligibility who will have a higher base salary than Olson this year are Kevin Williams ($600,000) and Ken Griffey Jr. ($535,000). However, in each case there is a second year involved in the contract. Had Olson opted for a multi-year contract, his 1991 salary undoubtedly would have surpassed both Williams and Griffey.

"We had serious discussions about a multi-year structure as recently as Sunday night," Moorad said after returning to California from Washington, where negotiations were concluded. "But in the end it's fair to say both sides felt more comfortable doing it one year at a time."

In addition to his base salary, Olson has the following clauses in his contract:

Selection to the All-Star team, $20,000; either the Cy Young or Rolaid's Relief Man of the Year, $75,000; MVP in either the league championship series or the World Series, $50,000. He would earn $40,000 for finishing second in the Rolaid's competition, $30,000 if he finishes third or $20,000 for fourth.

When the contract was finalized, it was announced that Olson would donate $100 for every win or save to the Maryland Combined Health Agencies. He also will make a sizable cash contribution to the baseball program of Omaha Northwest High School, where Olson went to school and where his father, Bill, is the head baseball coach.

* MEANWHILE BACK AT THE CAMP: Almost overlooked because of the interest in Jim Palmer's attempted comeback is the fact the Orioles have had a very impressive start in the exhibition season.


The 3-2 win over the Red Sox yesterday was their fourth in five games, and they also scored a 7-3 "B" squad victory over the Chicago White Sox yesterday morning. In the regular game, Glenn Davis had a single, double and drove in two runs and Devereaux had three hits.

Ben McDonald, Roy Smith (who got the win) and Paul Kilgus (save) held the Red Sox to three hits over the last seven innings after Palmer had given up five hits and both runs in the first two innings.

In the "B" game, non-roster infielder Shane Turner had four hits, ,, Luis Mercedes and Chito Martinez had three each and David Segui had a single and home run. Dave Johnson pitched four innings, giving up three hits and a run, to get the win.

Jose Mesa pitched three innings, giving up two runs and three hits, with Daniel Boone and Dave Martinez each pitching one scoreless inning.

* THIS 'N THAT: It was merely coincidence, but on the day Palmer made the first exhibition start of his comeback, Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski reported to the Red Sox camp in Winter Haven, where he is a minor-league instructor.

Chris Hoiles gave further evidence yesterday that his shoulder has completely recovered by making a strong throw to catch a would-be base stealer yesterday.


Yesterday's game at Bradenton's McKechnie Field was the first of four "home" games the Orioles will play in this area. With two American League teams involved, it marked the first time the designated hitter had been used in that park, which is used by the Pittsburgh Pirates. With Palmer as the main draw, the game attracted a standing-room-only crowd of 4,955.

Tonight the Orioles host Texas at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Jeff Ballard and Bob Milacki are scheduled to pitch four innings apiece, with Olson slated to pitch the final inning in his spring training debut.