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Saturday, September 9
Mussina wants talks to start at Martinez money

Associated Press

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore ace Mike Mussina has rejected a six-year, $72 million contract offer from the Orioles and negotiations have been halted until the end of the season, according to published reports Saturday.

Mike Mussina
Mike Mussina doesn't plan any more contract talks until he's a free agent

Mussina and the team have "agreed to pick it back up once the season is over," Arn Tellem, Mussina's agent, told The Washington Post.

At that point, Mussina will be a free agent and a number of teams are expected to try to lure him from Baltimore.

The deal, an extension of a five-year, $60 million offer the Orioles made in February, would have been the most lucrative ever awarded by the franchise.

The two sides appeared to be at odds over the issue of deferred money. Both offers included at least $2 million per year would be deferred without interest. Mussina does not want any of the money deferred.

"It's the same," Mussina told The (Baltimore) Sun. "Those numbers don't represent any change."

Mussina, 31, has said repeatedly that he wants to remain with the Orioles but will not re-sign for less than market value. He said Friday that he has ordered Tellem not to involve him in talks until the team meets his stated baseline.

Mussina intended to use Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez's six-year, $75 million deal without deferred money as a starting point. He is believed to be seeking a six-year contract approaching $84 million with no money deferred.

The right-hander is a career worst 9-13 this season, after winning at least 13 games for eight consecutive years. However, his 3.91 ERA ranks fifth in the AL and he leads the league with 211 2/3 innings pitched.

"Take the record out of the equation and look at the numbers," Mussina said. "It's virtually the same as last year and the year before. I can't control how many runs I get. I can only control how well I pitch. And that's been the same."

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