Darryl Strawberry, the temperamental slugger seeking a long-term, lucrative contract after his best season ever, returned home when he agreed to terms Wednesday night on a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
No terms were disclosed, though Strawberry's agent Eric Goldschmidt, told WFAN-AM in New York that Strawberry will be the second-highest paid player in baseball behind Oakland Athletics outfielder Jose Canseco.Strawberry, 28, graduated from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, the city where he resides during the off-season and the place where the right-fielder had said he wanted to play.
Strawberry, who spent his entire eight-year career with the New York Mets, was expected to sign the contract later Thursday. The Dodgers scheduled a news conference at 5:30 p.m. EST.
"We are very excited to have Darryl as a member of the Dodger ballclub," said Fred Claire, the Dodgers executive vice president-player personnel. "Darryl is one of the premier players in baseball and we welcome him to the organization. We know he will make many contributions to the Dodgers in the years to come."
Strawberry finally reached his projected potential with the Mets this past season, hitting .277, smashing 37 homers and driving in 108 runs. He also kept the Mets in the pennant race, hitting several key home runs down the stretch. But Strawberry's offense wasn't enough as the Mets finished four games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League East.
During the summer, Strawberry, a free agent after the 1990 season, sought a deal better than that of Canseco's five-year, $23.5 million pact.
The Mets were apparently unwilling to meet his demands. In on-and-off negotiations during the summer, the Mets offered Strawberry $9.1 million for three years.
"If ($9.1 million for three years) is their (Mets) best shot, someone's going to make me the richest player in the game," Strawberry said last July.
However, at the end of the season, Strawberry said he might remain with the Mets if certain conditions were met, including "a better relationship with the front office." At the same time, he said he would sign with the Dodgers if they offered him a five-year contract "within the range of contracts today."
In eight major league seasons, Strawberry batted .263, hit 252 homers and drove in 733 runs. He was selected to the All-Star team seven times.
Strawberry was the Mets' first selection and the No. 1 overall pick in the June 1980 Free Agent draft. He first came up with the Mets in 1983, winning NL Rookie of the Year honors.
In 1986, he was the top vote collector in the majors for the All-Star game and became the first player in the National League to be picked as an All-Star starter in each of his first three full seasons in the majors.
Also that year, he hit two homers and had five RBI in the National League Championship Series, helping the Mets beat the Houston Astros.