Work in Sports
McKeon mulling over whether to manage next season
Posted: Saturday October 23, 1999 07:27 PM
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Manager Jack McKeon was undecided Saturday about accepting a one-year contract extension from the Cincinnati Reds that didn't meet his expectations.
McKeon returned to his home in North Carolina after meeting with Reds managing executive John Allen on Friday. The Reds offered a one-year extension with a minimal raise, McKeon said.
He'll decide in the next few days whether to accept it.
"I got an offer. There was no negotiating," McKeon said, in a telephone interview. "They said it was a firm offer. There was no movement at all on their part.
"I guess the way you look at it is: It's take it or leave it."
Allen has declined to talk about the talks with McKeon. A phone message left at his office Saturday was not returned.
McKeon, who turns 69 next month, is a leading candidate for the NL Manager of the Year award. He led the Reds to 96 victories -- their best total since 1976 -- despite a $35 million payroll last season.
The Reds missed out on the playoffs by losing a one-game tiebreaker for the wild card berth to the New York Mets.
McKeon's one-year contract expired at the end of the season, and the front office had to wait until a new ownership group took over for Marge Schott before talking to McKeon about an extension.
During the season, McKeon made it clear he wanted at least a two-year contract and a raise that would put him on par with other managers. McKeon made a little more than $500,000 last season in base salary and incentives.
The Reds' offer reportedly contained a pay increase of about $50,000 over last season.
After watching other recent manager hires, McKeon expected a much better offer. Buddy Bell recently got a three-year contract from Colorado reportedly worth $2.25 million, and the Detroit Tigers gave Phil Garner a four-year deal reportedly worth $1.2 million a year.
"I was surprised," McKeon said of the Reds' offer. "I thought they'd have a better figure than they gave."
Asked if he got the feeling that the Reds don't want him back, McKeon said, "I don't know."
McKeon said no more talks are scheduled. He plans to think about the offer for a few more days before giving the Reds his answer.
"I'll digest it and think about it over the weekend and see what direction we want to go," he said.