DETROIT, SEPT. 29 -- Suspended second baseman Alan Wiggins was released by the Baltimore Orioles today, hours after a settlement was reached on the remainder of his contract.
In a complex settlement, Wiggins will receive $586,242 of the $938,372 remaining on his contract. He'll also clear waivers Friday and be a free agent next Monday, the day after the regular season ends.
Sources said Wiggins is "undecided" about continuing his baseball career, but if he does, will run into trouble from Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who suspended him Aug. 31 for failing at least one drug test. This was the third time Wiggins has had his major league career interrupted by drug problems, and Ueberroth's unwritten policy is that multiple offenders must spend 60 to 90 days in a rehabilitation program.
Wiggins was in California and unavailable for comment, but hasn't yet entered a treatment program. He has his Baltimore house for sale and plans to move back to his home on a golf course north of San Diego.
"Alan just wants to get this chapter of his life past him," said Gene Orza, counsel for the Major League Players Association, who negotiated the settlement with the Orioles. "He still has the highest respect for the upper-echelon management of the Orioles and is gratified for the chance to play. He wants the matter to die now."
The settlement reached today included:
Setting the length of his suspension at 20 days. That is the length of time Wiggins received no salary, which figures to $81,395 of his $700,000 salary this season.
He will receive full pay for the final 13 days of the season. That figures to $52,906.
For next season, he'll receive $533,336, which is two-thirds of his $800,000 contract.
The settlement ends Wiggins' turbulent 2 1/2-year career with the Orioles. It began in the summer of 1984 when the San Diego Padres traded him after Wiggins' second rehabilitation. He was the Orioles' starting second baseman at the end of '84 and the beginning of '85, but played his way out of the lineup under then-manager Earl Weaver and his successor, Cal Ripken Sr.
He started as the team's leadoff man and designated hitter this season, but was benched after a three-week hitting slump. His career went downhill rapidly in August when he was suspended by the Orioles for an altercation with Ripken. He returned after three days, then was on the team 13 more days before the suspension by Ueberroth. He hit .232.