Mets land Coleman Bream to be Brave

December 05, 1990|By Ken Rosenthal | Ken Rosenthal,Evening Sun Staff

ROSEMONT,ILL. — ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The pace at the baseball winter meetings grew frenzied today, with the Orioles' American League East rivals continuing to stockpile free agents, the New York Mets preparing to sign outfielder Vince Coleman and Atlanta reaching an agreement with first baseman Sid Bream.

In addition, Cincinnati re-signed second baseman Bill Doran to a three-year contract, while San Francisco made another significant move, trading reliever Steve Bedrosian for minor-league pitcher Johnny Ard and a player to be named.

Coleman reportedly reached a four-year, $12 million deal with the Mets after a last-ditch attempt by St. Louis to retain him. Bream signed a three-year contract with Atlanta, who earlier this week reached a four-year deal with third baseman Terry Pendleton.

Meanwhile in the AL East, Milwaukee reached a three-year agreement with free-agent first baseman/outfielder Franklin Stubbs, Toronto signed infielder/outfielder Pat Tabler for two years and Detroit infielder added Tony Bernazard for one -- one day after Boston signed free-agent lefthander Matt Young for three years.

Coleman will play leftfield for the Mets, with Kevin McReynolds moving to right. The Cardinals made him a four-year offer for the first time yesterday, but it reportedly did not exceed $10 million. The Mets apparently increased their offer one last time, closing the deal.

Coleman, one of baseball's best base-stealers, had been actively pursued by the Mets ever since Darryl Strawberry left New York and signed with Los Angeles. Coleman ends the Mets' search for a leadoff hitter and will fit into an outfield depleted by Strawberry's departure.

Coleman, 29, batted .292 and stole 77 bases last season for St. Louis. He began his career with the Cardinals in 1985 and stole more than 100 bases in his first three seasons.

The Met did not consider the loss of Tabler a major blow, but the 32-year-old veteran could play a useful role for Toronto as a righthanded designated hitter. The Blue Jays are on the verge of losing George Bell to the Chicago Cubs.

Bernazard, on the other hand, became the third player to sign with Detroit after spending time in Japan, joining pitcher Bill Gullickson and first baseman Cecil Fielder. His last major-league season was 1987, with Cleveland and Oakland. Now 34, he is expected to play part-time.

All that, however, seems incidental when compared to the flurry of moves by the Giants, who have signed three agents for $33 million and made two trades in two days a bold attempt to reclaim the NL West title from world champion Cincinnati.

The unloading of Bedrosian (9-9, 4.20) was made possible yesterday when the Giants signed lefthander Dave Righetti, a San Jose native, to a four-year, $10 million contract. Righetti saved 36 games for the New York Yankees last season.

Bedrosian, 33 tomorrow, will be playing for his third team in three years, giving the Twins another righthanded closer to complement Rick Aguilera. The Twins' projected 1991 rotation has an average of 25. That's why they wanted to add experience to their bullpen.

The Giants, meanwhile, now have enough depth to make Trevor Wilson a setup man while converting another of their starters (Mike LaCoss or Don Robinson) into a middle-inning reliever. That could be enough to close the six-game gap to the Reds.

Cincinnati, however, took an important step retaining Doran, whom they acquired Aug. 31 from Houston. Doran, 32, batted a combined .300 with seven homers and 37 RBIs, but was unable to play in the post-season after undergoing back surgery. The Reds are now expected to trade second baseman Mariano Duncan.

His new contract will earn him a guaranteed, $7.4 million contract, and there is an option for a fourth year. The Reds earlier re-signed lefthander Tom Browning to a four-year, $12.48 million contract, and are believed to be among the finalists for lefthander Zane Smith.

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