Mattingly Signs and Gives Yankees a Guarantee

The New York Yankees signed first baseman Don Mattingly to a three-year contract for a guaranteed $6.7 million, and Mattingly guaranteed a division title in return.

"I feel we're the best club in baseball right now," he said. "I've felt this way all winter. We're going to win the American League East. We're the best club. There's not a club out there that can beat us. I guarantee it."

Mattingly said that the recent signing of free agent Jack Clark enhanced his enthusiasm. Clark will hit behind Mattingly in the lineup.

"He'll get me better pitches to hit," Mattingly said. "He gives you more protection as a hitter. They've got to pitch to me because they won't want to pitch to him. His addition means all kinds of trouble for other teams."

Mattingly said that the contract terms had been agreed to for some time. The signing was delayed until the Yankees got insurance for the contract because of the back problems that forced Mattingly to miss 21 games last year. Mattingly will be paid $2 million this season, $2.2 million in 1989 and $2.5 million in 1990.

Mattingly, and Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves, will be the eighth-highest paid major league players in 1988. Ozzie Smith of the St. Louis Cardinals is tops at $2.34 million.

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