Camden Courier Post - November 6, 1980

McGraw, Unser opt for draft

 

PHILADELPHIA – Tug McGraw and Del Unser, both of whom played pivotal roles in the Phillies' drive toward a world championship, yesterday declared for baseball's free agent re-entry draft.

 

Righthander Larry Christenson, another who could have declared, signed a one-year contract with the Phillies.

 

"I have entered the free agent draft as of this afternoon, Nov. 5," McGraw said in a statement. "My request to the Phillies was this: My contribution to the first world championship in 97 years was equal to that of any person or player on the team. I want to be in the norm with the salaries of these players. To date, the Phillies have declined to make me a proposal of salary comparable to those salary levels of the other key players of the team. I didn't want this, but at this point there was no other choice."

 

THE PHILLIES, according to General Manager Paul Owens, are still negotiating with McGraw, who figured in three of the Phils' four World Series victories over the Kansas City Royals. Owens said the Phillies can negotiate with McGraw until mid night Monday. All negotiations are then suspended until after the re-entry draft No. 13.

 

With that in mind, McGraw and his financial adviser, Phil McLaughlin, plan to meet with Owens again tomorrow and perhaps over the weekend, as well.

 

It's no secret that McGraw would like to stay in Philadelphia and, like Dusty Baker of the Dodgers, hopes the Phils will retain his negotiation rights. Teams routinely may retain such rights at the conclusion of the re-entry draft.

 

McGraw's regular season was nothing short of sensational. He was 5-4 (5-1 after July 17) with 20saves and a 1.47 earned run average. He appeared in all five National League playoff games against Houston.

 

UNSER HIT .264 during the regular season and delivered some crucial pinch hits during the playoffs and Series. The 35-year-old lefthander finished hitting .400 .against the Astros and .500 against the Royals.

 

Christenson struggled through an injury-marred season and underwent elbow surgery in May. He returned to the Phils in mid-August and finished the year 5-1 with a 4.01 ERA in 14 games.

 

In still another contractual matter, Manager Dallas Green reached a one-year agreement with the Phillies. Green and Owens were to formally announce the agreement at a press conference today.

 

The team's announcement of the pact yesterday confirmed a report Monday that said Green would return as manager in 1981.

 

GREEN HAS made no secret that he would prefer a job in the front office, where he worked until Aug. 31, 1979, when he replaced Danny Ozark as manager.

 

McGraw and Unser were joined in the free-agent pool by outfielder Steve Braun of the Toronto Blue Jays, pushing to 52 the number of players declaring for free agency with the deadline for filing at midnight last night.

 

Only one other player, Texas pitcher Charlie Hough, was eligible to join the free agent list, but the knuckleballer was reported close to signing a contract with the Rangers.

 

The midnight deadline – 15 days following the end of the World Series – was merely to declare for the draft. Players who filed still can sign with their teams until Monday.

 

OF THE 52 players eligible for the draft, only one – Montreal first baseman Willie Montanez – carries no amateur draft compensation requirement for the team signing him. That's because Montanez signed his current contract before Aug. 9, 1976 – when the current basic agreement including its free agent provisions took effect – and was in his option year in 1980.

 

 

Two other players not in next week's draft could wind up as free agents anyway. They are pitcher Doyle Alexander of the Atlanta Braves and infielder Jack Brohamer of the Cleveland Indians. Both have exercised their contract rights to demand trades and if they are not dealt by March 15, they can declare themselves free agents.