Nobody would give pitcher Dave Righetti a three-year contract, so he and the New York Yankees have decided to go to salary arbitration, ending the liveliest bidding for a free agent in three years.
He beat the midnight deadline Saturday by just a few minutes. But 13 others rejected arbitration. They include: Dave Smith, Atlee Hammaker, Jack Morris, Mike Witt, Jack Clark, John Candelaria, Thad Bosley, Bill Gullickson, Danny Darwin and Larry Andersen.
That means their teams have until Jan. 8 to re-sign them, or lose that right until May 1.
Paul Molitor, Gary Gaetti and Charlie Leibrandt rejected it, too, but are expected to re-sign with their clubs.
Righetti, who made $837,500 this season, wants $1.5 million to $1.75 million. The Yankees have offered a two-year contract worth $2.7 million.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians sought him.
The Dodgers made an 11th-hour bid Saturday. According to his agent, the Dodgers urged him not to accept arbitration and tried to pressure him into a quick decision.
"They said I had 10 minutes," the agent said. The Dodgers retorted that the agent was trying to inflate the price.
Others who accepted arbitration just before the deadline: Frank Tanana of the Tigers, Juan Berenguer of the Twins, Jamie Quirk of the Royals and Dave LaPoint of the White Sox.
Tommy John of the Yankees agreed to a one-year contract for $375,000.
Morris was close to settling with the Tigers and Witt could rejoin the California Angels this week. The St. Louis Cardinals want to keep Clark and the Royals want Leibrandt.
Smith and Hammaker, however, still are very much on the loose. The Houston Astros don't want to give Smith $1 million a year.
Several teams are dickering with Hammaker, a graduate of Mount Vernon High School in Northern Virginia.