Yankees, Mussina agree to 6-year, $88.5 million deal
Updated: Friday December 01, 2000 6:35 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Baseball's most successful team is adding the top pitcher on the free-agent market.
"New York was the best fit for me," Mussina said. "It just came down to who really seemed to want me on their team the most. Joe Torre called me not even a week after the World Series, before he went on vacation. To me, that was a pretty big gesture."
He also was impressed with the staff he joins.
"We might go to the playoffs next year and I might not even get a chance to pitch," Mussina said. "That's how strong they are."
"This is a great, great day for the New York Yankees," said team president Randy Levine, adding that the move would help the team win more championships.
The Yankees brought manager Joe Torre to the news conference along with Hall of Famer Yogi Berra. They presented Mussina with uniform No. 35 -- Berra's first number before he switched to No. 8 that has been retired in his honor.
With a $14.75 million average annual value, the deal makes Mussina the second- or third-highest-paid pitcher in baseball, depending on how Clemens' new contract is evaluated.
While Clemens and his agents consider his $30.9 million extension a two-year deal that averages $15.45 million, the Yankees say it's a three-year contract that averages $10.3 million.
Mussina also trails Kevin Brown of Los Angeles, who averages $15 million under a $105 million, seven-year contract.
Mussina is 147-81 in his career after going 11-15 with a 3.79 ERA for the Orioles last season. He led the American League in innings pitched with 237 2-3 and was third in strikeouts with 210, trailing Boston's Pedro Martinez (284) and Cleveland's Bartolo Colon (212).
Mussina also was third in ERA, trailing Martinez (1.74) and Clemens (3.70).