ROSEMONT,ILL. — ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The Baltimore Orioles came up short in the bidding for left-hander Matt Young, but their failure to acquire a free agent pitcher may have encouraged them to step up their efforts to sign a run-producing outfielder.
Young signed a three-year, $6.35 million contract with the Boston Red Sox yesterday, leaving the Orioles to focus their attention on their inconsistent attack. General manager Roland Hemond met with the agents for Dwight Evans, Franklin Stubbs and George Bell and said that he felt the club has a legitimate chance to sign one of them.
It appears now that Evans is the most likely to become an Oriole, even though he suffers from a back condition similar to the one that convinced the club not to pick up a $400,000 option on the contract of left-handed reliever Joe Price. Bell is the least likely, even though Hemond indicated that there probably would be further talks with agent Alan Hendricks.
Negotiations with agent Jim Turner, who represents Stubbs, have been going on for more than a month, but there is little to indicate that the former Houston Astros first baseman is leaning toward Baltimore.
There has been interest in Evans from several American League East clubs, but discussions between agent Jack Sands and the Orioles have heated up considerably the past few days. Sands )) conceded that there is concern about Evans' back condition, but indicated that it was not enough to preclude the possibility of a contract with Baltimore.
"Dwight Evans is not Joe Price," said Sands. "It's a matter of weighing the [back] situation against the kind of things we're talking about. Sure, they have expressed concern -- if there wasn't concern, Dwight would still be with the Red Sox -- but Dwight has gotten a clean bill of health from Dr. [Arthur] Pappas, who is someone the Orioles have worked with before."
Sands said that there are four other clubs involved, including the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers and Montreal Expos, but indicated the bottom line might not be who gets down to their bottom dollar.
Evans reportedly is looking for a one-year contract worth about $1 million plus incentives. The Orioles probably would welcome the opportunity to get out of baseball's current free agent free-for-all without handing out a large, multiyear deal.
Nevertheless, they apparently were very much in the thick of the bidding for Young, who had narrowed the field down to the Orioles, Red Sox and Tigers before signing to play in Boston.
Young was the big winner, getting more than $2 million per year for three years after an 8-18 season with the Seattle Mariners.