Catcher Mickey Tettleton apparently is becoming a more marketable commodity as this year's free-agent free-for-all continues to gather momentum.
Agent Tony Attanasio, who only a week ago was wondering where Tettleton's first offer would come from, said yesterday that he has talked contract with a number of clubs interested in signing Tettleton.
Attanasio would not say what clubs were involved in the negotiations, but indicated that four teams have made overtures during the past week. One may be the Oakland Athletics, the team that released Tettleton before the 1988 season.
"Things are starting to happen," Attanasio said. "I'm sitting on some interest, and I'm having conversations relative to [contract] terms. Now, it's a matter of negotiating, which is what I do for a living."
Tettleton had received little interest through the first three weeks of free-agent bidding, even though his market value appeared to increase when the Philadelphia Phillies handed catcher Darren Daulton a three-year contract worth $6.75 million.
But Attanasio said the Daulton signing ended up hurting his client, because it set a salary standard that many clubs were unwilling to approach.
"I think it actually did more to inhibit a deal," Attanasio said. "We had based Mickey's value on what Tony Pena signed for last year. Then Daulton comes out and gets $6.75 million. Some clubs were saying, 'We're very interested, but we aren't ready to talk about that kind of money.' "
Tettleton has remained largely in the background through the first two months of the off-season. His wife, Sylvia, gave birth to the couple's first child (Tyler) last week. Tettleton said from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., that he had left things entirely up to Attanasio the past few weeks, but would be discussing the situation with him very soon.
Tettleton has maintained that he wants to re-sign with the Orioles, who have yet to offer him more than a one-year contract.
Attanasio said that there has been some recent contact with the Orioles front office, but no progress toward a multiyear contract. Still, he won't dismiss the possibility that the club will offer salary arbitration on Dec. 7 and that Tettleton will accept it.
"The worst that can happen to us is that Mickey goes back to Baltimore for one year and try again next year," Attanasio said. "If that happens, the Orioles had better hope that he doesn't hit 30 home runs."
In the meantime, Attanasio seems hopeful that outside interest will crystallize in the next two weeks. Tettleton is not the only one waiting for something to happen. Only a handful of position players have signed so far.
NOTES: The Orioles have not yet followed up on their initial contract offer to left-hander Matt Young, and seem unlikely to sign anyone before the winter meetings begin in Chicago this weekend. Ron Shapiro, who represents Young, said he will attend the meetings to continue negotiations with several clubs.
The Orioles will hold a front-office meeting tomorrow in preparation for the winter meetings. The appointment of a new scouting director probably will be discussed, but no announcement is expected until next week. . . . Baseball America has completed a study of the 1990 June draft and rated the Orioles' freshman class of minor-leaguers among the best in baseball. The Orioles were given a "B" for the draft that brought them pitchers Mike Mussina and Jeff Williams in the first two rounds. Only Oakland, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Montreal Expos rated "A's."