ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The Baltimore Orioles had everything in place for yesterday's Rule V draft but a contingency plan.
The club was all set to select outfield prospect Pat Howell from the New York Mets. Pitcher Mike Smith had been released to make room on the 40-man roster. The news release had been drafted. But the Minnesota Twins drafted Howell before the Orioles came up to bat.
Instead of gaining an outfielder who stole 79 bases at the Class A level last season, the Orioles lost a pitcher who was 9-6 for the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, but a club official said that Smith no longer figured in the team's long-range plans.
The first three clubs in the draft order chose not to select a player. The Twins chose fourth and made Howell the first pick of this year's draft of unprotected minor-league players.
Each player chosen in the Rule V draft must remain on the 25-man major-league roster of the selecting club for all of the next season or be offered back to his original club for half of the $50,000 draft price.
* Agent Jim Turner met with the Orioles yesterday to discuss first baseman-outfielder Franklin Stubbs, but no new contract offer was extended by the club.
"I think they are prepared to do that," Turner said. "They just weren't prepared to do it today. They are going to call me tomorrow."
Turner said that he expects to have the field narrowed to four clubs by the end of the week. He would not say whether he expected the Orioles to be one of those clubs.
* Hemond said that he also met with agent Ron Shapiro (who represents left-handed pitcher Matt Young), but would not characterize the club's chances of signing either Young or Stubbs.
* The Orioles have been back in contact with free-agent catcher Ernie Whitt, who appears willing to accept in invitation to spring training if the club decides to add some emergency depth. Whitt was contacted by Hemond soon after the 1990 season ended and talked by telephone again with the Orioles last week, according to a club source.
* The Orioles reacted with surprise to a Sunday night report on ESPN that they were close to trading Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley to the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder Kal Daniels. The teams have talked trade and Daniels has come up, but the Orioles deny that they have reached the name-exchange stage.