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Dodger Offer to Doran: Three Years, $5 Million

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The acquisition of Luis Sojo Sunday night left the Angels feeling they filled their need at second base.

A Dodger move at that position may not be imminent, but club and other sources said Sunday that the extent of the club’s interest in free-agent infielder Bill Doran can be measured by the following:

They have made a three-year offer estimated at $5 million after recently flying Doran, 32, to Los Angeles to have his back checked by Dr. Frank Jobe.

Doran, traded by the Houston Astros to the Cincinnati Reds in August, had surgery in late September for an abscess in a degenerative disk.

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The offer confirms he was cleared by Jobe and that the club wasn’t swayed by Juan Samuel’s .377 September awakening that improved his average to .242.

Samuel is also a free agent and also represented by Jim Turner, Doran’s agent.

“My acknowledgement of the Dodgers’ interest in Doran tells you that Samuel is no longer their choice at second base,” Turner said. “What can I say? The facts are the facts.”

Fred Claire, the Dodgers’ executive vice president, said Samuel was still an option, but added:

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“When I look at the makeup of our team--and this is not meant as a criticism of Samuel--I think that the defensive aspect at second base has to be the most important consideration.”

Has to be, Claire meant, because the Dodgers intend to play inexperienced Jose Offerman at shortstop and feel they need the reliability of a Doran at second. The Dodgers’ current options are Samuel or a platoon of Lenny Harris and Mike Sharperson.

Claire wouldn’t confirm it, but the Dodgers are likely to offer arbitration to Samuel by the Dec. 7 deadline, which does the following:

--Extends their negotiating rights to Jan. 8.

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--Offers Samuel the chance to return to the Dodgers for a year (an unlikely scenario because he is expected to receive multiyear opportunities elsewhere).

--Protects the club’s compensation rights if Samuel signs elsewhere.

Nine teams, Turner said, have asked for medical reports on Doran, and two--the Dodgers and Reds--have made offers, with more expected. The Toronto Blue Jays, after trading Sojo, acknowledged a strong interest in Doran.

Baseball Notes

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The Dodgers, who are believed willing to deal outfielder Kal Daniels, met with the New York Yankees among other teams Sunday, with speculation centered on the possible reacquisition of second baseman Steve Sax. Fred Claire said it was an exploratory meeting and refused to confirm interest in Sax, who had been No. 1 on the Angels’ wish list. Yankee General Manager Gene Michael said he would only trade Sax if overwhelmed by an offer.

Ex-Dodger Kirk Gibson is guaranteed $3.65 million via his two-year contract with the Kansas City Royals. He will get a $400,000 signing bonus and salaries of $1.5 million and $1.75 million. He can make another $580,000 in appearance bonuses. . . . The commissioner’s office announced that an agreement in principle has been reached with the minor leagues on a new player development contract, apparently ending their bargaining impasse.


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