By ALEX DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) - Free agent outfielder Marty Cordova (pictured, right) and the Orioles agreed Tuesday to a $9.1 million, three-year contract, helping Baltimore fill a void created by the release of Brady Anderson.
Cordova, the 1995 AL Rookie of the Year, hit .301 with 20 homers and 69 RBIs in 122 games for Cleveland last season. His 22-game hitting streak was the second longest in the American League.
Cordova, 32, said he wanted to be with a team that has a chance to win and was happy that the Orioles offered a three-year deal.
Other teams offered two-year contracts.
"If the pitching staff comes back healthy, this team has a good chance to contend this year," Cordova said. "That was real important to me to be on a competitive team."
Cordova, who looked forward to working with Orioles hitting instructor Terry Crowley, will make $2.5 million next year, $3.1 million in 2003 and $3.5 million in 2004.
Anderson, owed $4 million in 2002, was released by the Orioles last month. Outfielder Chris Richard, a regular in the middle of the batting order last year, will miss at least half of next season because of an injured left rotator cuff.
With the moves and injuries, plus the retirement of Cal Ripken Jr., the Orioles are becoming a team many fans might not recognize.
"If you win, you have an identity," Cordova said.
The Indians were interested in re-signing Cordova, but Cleveland is trying to cut payroll for next season.
"We wanted Marty and he wanted to stay here, but we just didn't have the money," said general manager Mark Shapiro, who added he talked with Cordova late last week. "We're happy for him, he deserves it."
The Indians signed Cordova as a non-roster invitee to spring training and he hit so well that Cleveland kept him.
Cordova said the Orioles have not promised him a starting slot.
"I don't want to go out and think I just have to show up and that's enough," Cordova said.
With the Twins in 1995, he hit .277 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs.
(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)