The agent for Cal Ripken met with Orioles officials last week to talk about a contract extension for the future Hall of Famer in the first of what is expected to be a series of discussions.
According to sources familiar with the discussion, Orioles general manager Pat Gillick talked last Tuesday with Ron Shapiro, the agent, about Ripken's contract, as well as about the possible signing of designated hitter Eddie Murray and catcher Lenny Webster. Murray signed with the Anaheim Angels, Webster with the Orioles.
"They haven't gotten to the nitty-gritty [of negotiations] yet," said one source.
Ripken, 36, will earn $6.2 million this year, in the final season of his existing contract. He is eligible to become a free agent after the 1997 season, but Shapiro has said he'd like to agree to an extension before the '97 season begins so that Ripken could avoid any distractions.
Ripken is the eighth-highest-paid position player in baseball, with Albert Belle ($11 million) ranked first, Ken Griffey second ($7.5 million) and Barry Bonds third ($7.29 million). Ripken, who will move to third base next season after nearly 15 years as the zTC team's everyday shortstop, is the highest-paid Oriole.
NOTE: Orioles pitcher Jimmy Key is donating $10,000 to two programs that support youngsters in the Baltimore area, and the team will match his donation.
Key will donate $5,000 to the Salvation Army to purchase Christmas gifts for needy children and will contribute $5,000 to -- provide equipment for the local chapter of Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities, a nationwide program that gives inner-city teen-agers the opportunity to play baseball.
Pub Date: 12/24/96