Don Mattingly, who was challenged by George Steinbrenner to lead the New York Yankees to a pennant last year, signed a three-year contract for $6.7 million yesterday and guaranteed a title.
"I feel we're the best club in baseball right now," Mattingly said. "I've felt this way all winter. We're going to win the American League East. We're the best club. There's not a club out there that can beat us.
"I guarantee it."
Mattingly won a $1,975,000 contract in arbitration last year, prompting Steinbrenner to say the first baseman would have to lead the team to the pennant. The Yankees contended much of the season but finished fourth as Mattingly batted .327 with 30 home runs and 115 RBI.
Meanwhile, Baltimore Orioles General Manager Roland Hemond says he has discussed trading several players to New York, including pitcher Mike Boddicker.
In return, the Yankees may offer a package of players, including outfielders Gary Ward and Jay Buhner, pitchers Pat Clements and Charles Hudson and shortstop Bobby Meacham, the New York Daily News reported.
Hemond acknowledged in the Baltimore Evening Sun his conversations with Yankees General Manager Lou Piniella.
The Orioles are negotiating with Boddicker, who has until midnight Friday to file for arbitration if no agreement is reached. Boddicker earned $825,000 last season. Boddicker had the most victories on the club last season with 10, but posted 12 losses. . . .
Tom Seaver, the greatest pitcher in New York Mets' history, will have his number retired by the club this summer. He will be the first Met player to have his number retired.