Rocker Loses Salary Arbitration

Wednesday, February 14th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

John Rocker followed his most difficult season with a loss in salary arbitration.

The Atlanta reliever, known as much for his disparaging comments on minorities as for his pitching, will get $1.9 million this season rather than $2.98 million, arbitrators Jack Clarke, Jerome Ross and Elliot Shriftman ruled Wednesday.

The left-hander went 1-2 with a 2.89 ERA and 24 saves last year in a season that began with a two-week suspension imposed because of comments to Sports Illustrated that disparaged blacks, women, gays and Asians.

In any event, Rocker is getting a huge raise in the first year he was eligible for arbitration. Last year, when the Braves unilaterally decided his salary, he made $290,000.

Cincinnati reliever Danny Graves also lost when arbitrators Dan Brent, Stephen Goldberg and Kenneth Perea gave him a salary of $2.1 million rather than $3,075,000.

Graves made $400,000 last year, when he was 10-5 with a 2.56 ERA and 30 saves.

Chicago White Sox closer Keith Foulke won his case Wednesday and was given a raise from $445,000 to $3.1 million by arbitrators Reginald Alleyne, Roger Kaplan and Alan Symonette. Chicago had argued that Foulke should be paid $2.2 million.

He was 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA and 34 saves last year as Chicago won the AL Central.

Owners have a 5-4 lead in arbitration this year with 16 cases still to be argued in the next week.

Cincinnati second baseman Pokey Reese, Boston catcher Jason Varitek and Mets left-hander Glendon Rusch agreed to one-year contracts Wednesday. Varitek and Rusch will each get $1.8 million, and Reese about $3.15 million.

On Tuesday, six players in arbitration agreed to contracts, with Florida closer Antonio Alfonseca getting a $6 million, two-year deal.

Agreeing to one-year deals were Colorado shortstop Neifi Perez ($3.55 million), Baltimore right-hander Sidney Ponson ($2.1 million), Los Angeles right-hander Antonio Osuna ($1.5 million), St. Louis right-hander Matt Morris ($1.2 million) and Philadelphia right-hander Wayne Gomes ($925,000).

On Tuesday, Braves pitcher Kevin Millwood lost his case.

Millwood, who made $420,000 last season, will get $3.1 million this year instead of $3.9 million, Richard Bloch, Goldberg and Symonette decided.

Millwood's agent, Scott Boras, has lost his last seven arbitration cases and eight of nine since winning five in a row during 1995 and 1996.

Other Boras clients who lost during the streak included Charles Johnson, Johnny Damon, Darren Oliver, Jorge Fabregas and Travis Lee.

``It's difficult sometimes in this arena to portray the player,'' Boras said. ``But when you look back at the losses and the performances the players have had after the losses, I must say our numbers were supported by the performances.''

Osuna, 3-6 with a 3.74 ERA in 46 relief appearances for Los Angeles, reached his agreement with the Dodgers on the day after his case was argued.