LOS ANGELES, JAN. 29 -- Outfielder Kirk Gibson had agreed to a three-year contract, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced tonight.
"I'm excited about being a Dodger," he said in a release that a Dodgers spokesman read to reporters.
He apparently will earn $4.5 million over the three years. The Tigers wanted to extend his contract through 1989 at slightly more than $1.3 million.
Arbitrator Tom Roberts awarded Gibson and six others free agency Jan. 22 because of a collusion grievance against club owners. He gave them until March 1 to negotiate new contract with any teams.
The seven players declared free agents were among 14 from the 1985 free-agent class who are still in the majors. The other seven still playing apparently were not included in this ruling because they had subsequent chances to become free agents. Another 48 players involved in the suit are out of baseball.
The Dodgers reportedly would have traded Pedro Guerrero for Gibson last December had they not feared Roberts would award Gibson financial damages.
Gibson hit .277 with 24 homers and 79 runs batted in for the Tigers last season.
"We are happy to welcome Kirk to the Dodgers organization," Fred Claire, the team's executive vice president, said. "Kirk's power, speed and enthusiasm for the game will be tremendous assets to our team.
Gibson, 30. will be introduced in Los Angeles Monday.
"I know the Dodgers have been one of the premiere organizations in baseball," he said. "One thing I can assure everybody is that I play hard on every pitch of every inning . . . and I hate to lose. I'm also excited about playing in the National League. I've heard a lot about it. I think my style of play will fit in very well."
The San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners were believed to have sought him, too.