The Baltimore Orioles have yet to make a trade or sign a free agent at the major-league level, but the player-development department has been busy the past couple of weeks.
The club announced yesterday that it had completed a minor-league deal that sent utility infielder Marty Brown to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for left-handed-hitting outfielder Jeff Weatherby, who became the Orioles' fourth minor-league acquisition in the past week.
Brown, who batted .242 in 67 games for the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings after starting the season with the Orioles, was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds last December in the PTC Rule V major-league draft. Though he made the major-league club out of spring training -- thanks, in part, to a temporary roster expansion -- he appeared in only nine games for the Orioles before being designated for assignment June 12.
"Marty had asked that if we didn't have plans for him to move him," said assistant general manager Doug Melvin. "He looked at [Craig] Worthington and saw the year [Leo] Gomez had. He told me he thought Gomez is going to be a fine player and felt his role in this organization had diminished. I told him that he had analyzed the situation correctly, and we said we would do what we could to move him."
Brown could have been reclaimed by the Reds in June under the terms of the Rule V draft. Players drafted must be kept at the major-league level for all of the following season or be offered back to their original clubs for half the $50,000 draft price. The Reds, however, chose not to take him back.
Weatherby batted .313 with five home runs and 42 RBI for the Class AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox last year.
The Orioles acquired three other minor-league players last week -- Chito Martinez, a power-hitting outfielder; Greg Mayberry, a pitcher and former first-round draft choice; and Jeff Gay, a catcher.
* The Orioles filled their major-league roster to capacity yesterday, adding outfielder Luis Mercedes and right-handed pitcher Francisco de la Rosa to the 40-man protected list.
Mercedes is coming off his second consecutive minor-league batting title. He led the Class A Carolina League in hitting with a .309 average for the Frederick Keys and followed up that performance with a Class AA Eastern League-leading .334 average for the Hagerstown Suns. De la Rosa was 9-5 with a 2.06 ERA for Hagerstown and pitched in two games as a reliever for Rochester.
"These are two guys who were part of our Dominican program," Melvin said. "Mercedes was the first player to come out of our Dominican summer program. De la Rosa was a released player, but he was also found over there.
"Both of them had good years at the Double-A level. Mercedes has a wealth of ability. He has an above-average throwing arm and above-average speed. He has been moved to center field to use his speed, but he can play the other two outfield positions.
* Melvin said Martinez, a former member of the Kansas City Royals organization who was signed as a six-year minor-league free agent last week, will go to spring training with a chance to make the major-league club, but he was also signed with an eye toward the 1991 season, when the Orioles will move into their new stadium and be better able to take advantage of his left-handed power.
"Martinez was somebody we looked to for immediate help," Melvin said, "but you also have to look at the new stadium. We tried to acquire him last year, but the Royals weren't ready to part with him.
The Royals did not add Martinez to the major-league roster by the end of the regular season, so the Orioles were able to get him without giving up anything.Orioles notes