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Report: Orioles Must Pay Frank Wren

May 11, 2000 GMT

BALTIMORE (AP) _ The Orioles must pay at least $350,000 in severance to former general manager Frank Wren, according to news reports.

Commissioner Bud Selig ordered the Orioles on Monday to pay through binding arbitration, The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing anonymous sources.

Wren was fired last Oct. 6, less than a year after he took over as GM. He was subsequently hired by the Atlanta Braves as assistant general manager.

Wren reportedly had sought Selig’s help in settling his contract dispute with Baltimore, which had suspended payment of the balance of Wren’s three-year, $1.35 million contract with the team.

The Post said Wren will receive about $350,000. The Sun reported that the figure was more than $400,000.

Selig refused to comment on the ruling. Orioles owner Peter Angelos said he was unaware of the ruling.

Wren said he was ``glad that we prevailed.″

``At this point, we can go forward, and it closes the last chapter of the year we spent in Baltimore,″ he said.

Counsel for the Orioles argued that Wren had been fired ``for cause,″ and was not due any portion of his remaining salary.

Wren’s attorney, Herb Belgrad, said Wren ``was only asking for what he was entitled to. He would have liked to have avoided using the arbitration route, but that was the only remedy he had under the employment contract.″

The Sun said that a settlement drafted prior to the firing stipulated that Wren would be paid the difference between his general manager’s salary, $450,000, and what he would earn from his next employer. The Braves hired Wren for an annual salary of about $250,000, leaving the Orioles liable for slightly more than $400,000.

``I would say the Orioles would respectfully disagree with the commissioner,″ said general counsel Russell Smouse. ``We recognize that the general inclination in league matters is to favor the employee.″