The Baltimore Orioles wanted to give Glenn Davis a reason for liking his new team, and they did - more than $3 million of them.
Davis and the Orioles settled Tuesday on a one-year contract for $3,275,000, the midpoint between his request and the club's offer in salary arbitration.Davis, who made $1,985,000 last season with Houston, was scheduled to go to arbitration Thursday. The Orioles got the first baseman from the Astros for three players and hope to keep Davis, one of baseball's best power hitters, happy for awhile.
"We're pleased to reach terms with Davis rather than go through a hearing," Oriole general manager Roland Hemond said. "Our goal has always been to build a contending ballclub, and settling with Davis in this manner is a demonstration of our continued efforts in building a winner."
Kelly Gruber, who emerged last season in Toronto as one of the game's top players, also reached the $3 million club when he and the Blue Jays agreed to an $11 million, three-year contract.
That makes it 36 players at or above the $3 million mark, a level first reached in November 1989 by Minnesota's Kirby Puckett.
"We think Kelly is a very integral part of our ball club," Toronto assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "With some of our senior players moving on, Kelly will take on an added role and I think he's ready for that."
In another big deal, St. Louis Cardinals infielder Jose Oquendo agreed to a four-year, $8.5 million extension through 1995. The Cardinals also signed free agent catcher Rich Gedman to a minor-league contract.
Thirty-seven players remain in salary arbitration. Right-hander Tim Belcher and the Los Angeles Dodgers had a hearing Tuesday before arbitrator Reg Alleyne. Cy Young winner Doug Drabek and the Pittsburgh Pirates are scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday in Chicago.