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Wonder Mike

Yankees, Mussina agree to 6-year, $88.5 million deal

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Posted: Thursday November 30, 2000 10:22 AM
Updated: Friday December 01, 2000 6:35 PM

  Mike Mussina Mike Mussina's deal with the Yankees could make him the second- or third-highest paid pitcher. Doug Pensinger/Allsport

NEW YORK (AP) -- Baseball's most successful team is adding the top pitcher on the free-agent market.

Mike Mussina and the New York Yankees agreed Thursday to an $88.5 million, six-year contract.

Mussina, 32 on Dec. 8, joins a staff on the three-time defending World Series champions that already includes Roger Clemens, Orlando Hernandez and Andy Pettitte.

"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."

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"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.

The only position players with higher average salaries are Toronto outfielder Carlos Delgado ($17 million) and Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones ($15 million).

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).


 
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Multimedia
New Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina is excited to be in an organization with a tradition of winning. (367 K)
The quality of the Yankee bullpen was a factor in Mussina's move. (369 K)
Mussina hopes he makes the team even better. (231 K)
In Baltimore, Mussina was the top pitcher. In New York, things will be easier for him. (164 K)
Mussina says his decision came down to who wanted him the most. Joe Torre fit the bill. (392 K)
Mussina enjoyed Baltimore, but his future was important to him. (270 K)
New York manager Joe Torre talks about adding yet another ace to the Yankee bullpen. (73 K)
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