Dan Quisenberry was released Monday by the Kansas City Royals, 39 months after signing a complicated lifetime contract worth possibly $40 million.
"The bottom line is effectiveness," said general manager John Schuerholz. "It was purely and simply a baseball decision. His effectiveness was just not what it had been, for whatever reason."At the same time, the Royals released veteran reliever Gene Garber, 40, who has 218 lifetime saves, most of them in the National League.
Quisenberry, 35, said he still hopes to pitch somewhere. His lack of use and obvious unhappiness had fueled speculation for almost a year that the Royals would either trade or release the sinkerballing righthander whose 238 saves rank fourth on baseball's all-time list.
"I'm not going to be popping any champagne," Quisenberry said. "There is some sadness. So much has happened here on the field, in the lockerroom and the uniform. But it was obviously over here and I knew it. It's been tough since the middle of 1986."
"He told me, `Thanks for showing mercy,"' Schuerholz said.
Quisenberry signed his unique, complex lifetime contract early in the 1985 season at the urging of co-owner Avron Fogelman, who put the package together and signed outfielder Willie Wilson and first baseman George Brett to similar deals.
The contract reportedly will pay him $1.2 million through the 1989 season. The rest of the arrangement involves real estate and other investment properties that Quisenberry shares with Fogelman in a partnership arrangement.
Total worth of the contract has been estimated as high as $49 million, depending on the value of the real estate and commercial holdings in coming decades.
Garber's career was spent mostly with Philadelphia and Atlanta. He joined the Braves in 1978 and stayed with them until 1987 when he came to the Royals. He was 0-4 this year with six saves and a 3.58 ERA in 26 games. Lifetime, he is 96-113 with 218 saves and a 3.34 ERA in 931 games.
Quisenberry, 35, is 0-1 with one save and a 3.55 earned run average this year. His lifetime statistics, all with the Royals, include a 51-43 record with 238 saves and a 2.55 ERA. His 45 saves in 1983 established a major league record and he was named relief pitcher of the year five times.