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Ripken seeks three years, $21M-22.5M Orioles set to counter; Mussina talks continue


The Orioles will begin formulating a counterproposal for third baseman Cal Ripken today and are expected to contact his representatives in the next few days, according to a league source.

Sources said Ripken asked for a yearly salary between $7 million and $7.5 million and is unlikely to sign unless the deal is for at least three years. Ripken, 36, will make $6.2 million this season and is eligible to become a free agent after the 1997 season.

Ron Shapiro, Ripken's agent, met with general manager Pat Gillick at the Camden Yards offices Monday, and sources said they are scheduled to meet again next week. Ripken has spent his entire career in an Orioles uniform and holds the major-league record for consecutive games played.

General manager Pat Gillick and assistant GM Kevin Malone would neither confirm nor deny that they received a proposal, but said discussions with Ripken are continuing.

"We're still talking," Gillick said. "The talk is very positive for each side. Right now we're not going to comment on specifics."

The Orioles also spoke twice with the agent for starter Mike Mussina yesterday.

Mussina is eligible for arbitration, with a hearing set for Feb. 21 in Tampa, Fla. The Orioles would like to get a deal done before that date. If the contract goes to an arbitrator, Mussina would likely come away with a salary around $7 million for this season, and he would become a free agent at the end of the season.

Mussina has the highest winning percentage among all active pitchers, and has also spent his entire career with the Orioles. He has said he wants to remain an Oriole.

"We've got a dialogue going," Gillick said. "We're optimistic in our conversations."

Pub Date: 2/06/97

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