Two weeks after winning the World Series, they're breaking up the Dodgers.
Steve Sax and Mike Marshall, both new free agents, say they will leave Los Angeles after letting the Dodgers' self-imposed Friday midnight deadline pass without signing contracts."I'm very surprised and disappointed," Sax said late Friday. "I came here wanting to sign. I'm not a Dodger anymore, I'm a free agent."
"I was a big part of the team," said Marshall. "It's unbelievable."
Fred Claire, the Dodgers general manager, said he wouldn't negotiate with them any longer, even though he is allowed to until Jan. 9. Instead, the Dodgers offered to allow an arbitrator to determine 1989 salaries for Sax and Marshall. The players have until Dec. 19 to accept or reject the arbitration offers but said they intended to turn them down.
"Obviously we have an unusual situation where we have lost two important players," Claire said. "I was surprised, but then again, I respect their decisions. They were not easy decisions and I know that."
Marshall, who has played first base and the outfield for Los Angeles since 1982, hit .277 this season, led the Dodgers with 82 runs batted in and hit 20 home runs, second on the team to Kirk Gibson's 25. Sax, the starting second baseman since 1982, also batted .277, drove in 57 runs and led Los Angeles with 42 stolen bases.
Jerry Kapstein, the agent for Sax and Marshall, met throughout the afternoon and evening with Claire and Dodgers lawyer Sam Fernandez in an attempt to reach agreements. Los Angeles made identical offers to each player: $1 million in 1989, $1.1 million in 1990 and an option year for $1.1 million in 1991 with a $200,000 buyout.
Sax, who made $838,182 this year, wanted a guaranteed three-year contract for $3.95 million - a $500,000 signing bonus, $1.5 million each in 1989 and 1990 and $1.45 million in 1991. Marshall, paid $760,000 in 1988, wanted a three-year guaranteed contract for $3.8 million.
"The offer we made to Mike would have made him one of the top paid outfielders in the game," Claire said. "Only seven more are paid more than we offered."
"I thought the number I proposed was right on the mark," Marshall said. "I hit fourth on the team."
In addition, two other Dodgers became free agents, pitchers Jesse Orosco and Mario Soto. L.A. is not interested in re-signing Orosco, but may make Soto an offer.
Alfredo Griffin, who had filed for free agency Monday, Friday agreed to a two-year contract with the Dodgers for $2 million.
Three players filed for free agency before Friday's deadline, pitchers Rick Honeycutt of Oakland and Dennis Lamp of Boston and second baseman Tommy Herr of Philadelphia. There were 77 free agents this year, but three - Griffin, Alejandro Pena and Bruce Benedict - already have re-signed.
Several players eligible for free agency reached agreements with their teams Friday. Steve Bedrosian, the 1988 Cy Young Award winner, returned to Philadelphia for a three-year contract worth $4.35 million.
Outfielder Glenn Wilson agreed to a two-year contract with Pittsburgh worth $1.5 million.