Whitey Herzog maintained a frenetic pace at the winter meetings Tuesday by completing three deals, and he claimed he isn't done yet.
In addition to signing pitcher Chuck Finley to the largest contract in Angel history, Herzog acquired former Dodger Hubie Brooks from the New York Mets for outfielder Dave Gallagher and traded right-hander Mike Fetters to the Milwaukee Brewers for reliever Chuck Crim.
Finley, who was a year away from free agency, agreed to a four-year, $18.5-million contract that ranks third-highest among pitchers and fifth overall. The money is unevenly distributed to pay Finley $3.5 million in 1994--or 18.9% of his contract--to minimize his salary loss in the event of a strike or a lockout. This is a gesture the Angels were less willing to extend to Wally Joyner.
Their final offer to Joyner was a $15.75 million contract with a $3.75 million salary in 1994, putting Joyner at risk to lose 23.8% of his total earnings. The payout was a bitter point of contention with Joyner, who Monday agreed to a one-year deal with the Kansas City Royals.
Finley's agent, Randy Hendricks, said the payout for his client "was no problem."
"That was relatively inconsequential on both sides," he said. "I think we worked on it less than five minutes."
Angel President Richard Brown said comparing Joyner's deal with Finley's "is like comparing apples with oranges."
"They're different contracts," Brown said. "You're comparing a first baseman with a pitcher. . . . These negotiations resulted in a contract because this player wanted to stay with the California Angels."
Barry Axelrod, one of Joyner's agents, disagreed.
"To say you can't do a proposal because one player is an everyday player and one is a pitcher is absurd," Axelrod said from his office in Encinitas. "And to say Wally didn't want to stay is absurd."
Axelrod said Joyner was happy for Finley and had no quarrel with Herzog over his departure. In parting, Joyner implied Jackie Autry, wife of owner Gene Autry, drove him away.
"Wally has left open the possibility of returning to the Angels, providing Whitey is really running the show," Axelrod said. "It's clear to us he's not running it now."
Herzog ran the Finley negotiations with impressive speed, consenting to pay the left-hander a $1.5 million signing bonus and salaries of $4 million in 1992, $5 million in 1993, $3.5 million in 1994 and $4.5 million in 1995.
Finley, who was 18-9 in each of the past two seasons and has won 52 games over the past three seasons, can increase his earnings through incentive clauses similar to those in the contract of Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, also a client of brothers Randy and Alan Hendricks. Finley can also submit a list of 13 teams to which he would not accept a trade.
"This has been a tough, tough winter to get the movement we want, but I think signing Chuck Finley is a big step in the right direction and we hope to go from there," Herzog said after his first successful major signing. "Yeah, we could have traded Chuck Finley and got a hell of a lot rolling, and if I didn't get him signed by the end of the week I was going to trade him. I'm glad I didn't have to.
"I feel pretty good right now. Last week at this time I was down and I was frustrated we didn't get Joyner or (Bobby) Bonilla."
Finley, recovering in California from surgery performed on his left big toe last Friday, said he had no desire to leave the organization.
"I'm very happy playing for the California Angels. I don't know what it's like to play anywhere else," said Finley, a 1985 Angel draft choice. "It was never in my mind to look anywhere else to play.
"The Angels took a chance on me, and I'm going to do everything I can to show they made the right decision."
Besides keeping Finley happy, Manager Buck Rodgers thought the signing would calm players' unhappiness over Joyner's departure.
"I think this will send a message through the clubhouse that the Angels are ready and willing to negotiate with our own people, as much or more as with other people," Rodgers said.
That message might be too late. Although Herzog said he is hopeful of re-signing free agent Kirk McCaskill and met Tuesday with McCaskill's agent, Marvin Demoff, the right-hander still plans to visit Baltimore to talk with the Orioles.
"I thought losing Wally was a tragic day for the Angels. I hope it's the end of a continuous trend," McCaskill said. "From an insider-outsider perspective, it's just frustrating that that has to happen. . . . I played the waiting game the whole time. I've been waiting very patiently for them to sort out their priorities, and I have not been one of their priorities. I'm going to look out for the best interests of me and my family."
The two trades Tuesday were designed to shore up the Angels' bullpen and their offense.
Herzog said Brooks, who underwent surgery on a disc in his neck Sept. 12, will be the designated hitter because of his consistent production and his clutch hitting. He said he and the Angels' doctors were satisfied by reports from Met doctors on Brooks' condition.
Rodgers said he would consider using Brooks sparingly in the outfield or at first base, as his condition permits. Brooks, a .272 hitter who has driven in 750 runs over 12 seasons, said he is delighted to be returning to California.
"It's absolutely great to be back," he said from his home in Chatsworth. "I don't exactly know what I'm going to be doing. I'm not looking to do just one thing (DH)."
From his home in Orange County, Gallagher said the trade "was kind of a shocker to me," but his disappointment was eased by his upcoming reunion with Met Manager Jeff Torborg. Gallagher played for Torborg with the Chicago White Sox.
Crim, who graduated from Thousand Oaks High School, was 3-5 with a 3.47 ERA in 67 relief appearances last season.
Rodgers said Fetters, the Angels' first-round draft pick in 1986, simply was not impressive enough in his starts to win a place in the rotation next season. Fetters was one of many pitchers who unsuccessfully auditioned for the fifth starter's spot, making four starts and compiling an overall 2-5 record. The Angels also gave up right-hander Glenn Carter, who was 1-6 with double-A Midland last season.
Herzog said he doesn't plan to pursue free agent Danny Tartabull because of budget considerations. Tuesday, Herzog met with Dennis Gilbert, who is Tartabull's agent and who was ripped by Herzog for his conduct during the Bonilla negotiations. The two reportedly discussed their differences but did not negotiate for Tartabull.
"I doubt very much now we'd even be interested in Tartabull," Herzog said. "We've got Hubie Brooks in his walk year (the season before free agency) and there's free agency again next year. It's mainly because Tartabull is going to cost a lot of money."
Herzog also said the Angels' chances of signing free agent Otis Nixon "look worse" because Nixon appears to be leaning toward re-signing with the Braves.
Chuck Finley--A $4 Million Man
Chuck Finley, after back-to-back 18-win seasons, Tuesday agreed to a four-year $18.5 million contract with the Angels, thus becoming the 10th player to agree to a contract with a $4 million average annual value. Roger Clemens ($5,380,250) and Dwight Gooden ($5.15) are the only pitchers who top Finley's new deal.
Year Club W-L ERA G GS CG IP H R ER 1986 Angels 3-1 3.30 25 0 0 46.1 40 17 17 1987 Angels 2-7 4.67 35 3 0 90.2 102 54 47 1988 Angels 9-15 4.17 31 31 2 194.1 191 95 90 1989 Angels 16-9 2.57 29 29 9 199.2 171 64 57 1990 Angels 18-9 2.40 32 32 7 236.0 210 77 63 1991 Angels 18-9 3.80 34 34 4 227.1 205 102 96 Major Totals 66-50 3.34 186 129 22 994.1 919 409 370
Year BB SO 1986 23 37 1987 43 63 1988 82 111 1989 82 156 1990 81 177 1991 101 171 Major Totals 412 715
Ten Highest Paid
Player Player Years Avg. Salary Bobby Bonilla Mets 1992-96 $5,800,000 Roger Clemens Red Sox 1992-95 $5,380,250 Dwight Gooden Mets 1992-94 $5,150,000 Jose Canseco A's 1991-95 $4,700,000 Chuck Finley Angels 1992-95 $4,625,000 Andy Van Slyke Pirates 1992-94 $4,216,667 Nolan Ryan Rangers 1992 $4,200,000 Wally Joyner Royals 1992 $4,200,000 Tony Gwynn Padres 1993-95 $4,083,333 Darryl Strawberry Dodgers 1991-95 $4,050,000
Does not include potential incentive clauses.
Source: Associated Press
1991: Won four straight starts April 9-24, including a two-hit, nine strikeout effort against the Twins on the 19th, enroute to a 12-4, 1.10 ERA first half of the season.
1990: Angels won 22 of 34 games in games in which he pitched.
His 2.40 ERA was second best to Roger Clemens' 193.
Posted 11-4 record at Anaheim Stadium, holding foes to a 1.63 ERA and a .222 batting average.
1989: Finish second at 2.57 to Kansas City's Bret Saberhagen (2.16) for league's ERA title.
Hubie Brooks' Career Statistics
Year Team AB R H HR RBI Avg. 1980 Mets 81 8 25 1 10 .309 1981 Mets 358 34 110 4 38 .307 1982 Mets 457 40 114 2 40 .249 1983 Mets 586 53 147 5 58 .251 1984 Mets 561 61 159 16 73 .283 1985 Expos 605 67 163 13 100 .269 1986 Expos 306 50 104 14 58 .340 1987 Expos 430 57 113 14 72 .263 1988 Expos 588 61 164 20 90 .279 1989 Expos 542 56 145 14 70 .268 1990 Dodgers 568 74 151 20 91 .266 1991 Mets 357 48 85 16 50 .238 Totals 5439 609 1480 139 750 .272