Reliever Todd Worrell wanted to see if the St. Louis Cardinals would "play fair," and when they did, he signed a contract that more than quadrupled his salary.
"I wanted to see how far the Cardinals were willing to come over the midpoint ($862,500,)" Worrell said Wednesday after signing a one-year contract. "If the Cardinals hadn't come to the midpoint, I'd have had to consider arbitration."The 29-year-old bullpen ace agreed to a one-year contract for $875,000, a raise of 307 percent from the $215,000 he made last season. Worrell had 32 saves last season, a 5-9 record and a 3.00 earned-run average.
Worrell, scheduled to take his salary request before an arbitrator next Monday, had asked for $925,000. St. Louis was offering $800,000.
Also signing Wednesday were were Jimmy Key, Chili Davis and Rob Deer, all of whom get multiyear deals. They were among nine players who avoided salary arbitration hearings.
Key, of Toronto, and Davis, of the California Angels, made the day's biggest deals.
Davis agreed to a three-year contract worth $4.1 million. The outfielder, who made $950,000 last season after leaving San Francisco and signing with California as a free agent, gets $1.275 million this year, $1.375 in 1990 and $1.45 million in 1991.
Left-hander Key, the ace of Toronto's pitching staff, signed a three-year contract at well over $1 million a year, with an option for a fourth season. Key had asked for $1.35 million in arbitration and the Blue Jays countered with $1.2 million.
Deer, an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, signed a two-year contract for $1,645,000. Deer, who made $460,000 last season, gets $760,000 this year and $885,000 in 1990.
Dan Plesac, the Brewers' ace left-handed reliever, settled on a one-year deal for $725,000, a raise of $435,000.
Atlanta first baseman Gerald Perry agreed to $662,500, a raise of $237,500, and Braves reliever Charlie Puleo settled for $325,000, a raise of $102,500.