ROSEMONT,ILL — ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The Baltimore Orioles appear to be closer to signing free-agent outfielder Dwight Evans to a one-year contract. The only thing that stands in the way is the approval of the club's medical staff.
Agent Jack Sands met with Orioles officials several times yesterday at the winter meetings and an offer was discussed, but the Orioles asked for an opportunity for team doctor Charles Silberstein to discuss Evans' back condition with Arthur Pappas, the Boston Red Sox's orthopedist.
Sands told the Orioles that Evans had gotten a clean bill of health from Pappas, but it has been 16 months since the 39-year-old outfielder played in the field. He probably would be the right-handed designated hitter for the Orioles, but they want to find out whether he can be more than a one-dimensional player.
It was Sands who told reporters that an offer had been made. Orioles general manager Roland Hemond would not confirm that report, but said that he "wouldn't want to deny what Jack has said."
No doubt, the Orioles would like to come out of the meetings with something to show for five days of intense trade talks and contract negotiations. So far, they have been the calm at the center of the storm, though certainly not by design.
The fifth day of the convention culminated with one of the biggest trades in recent memory, but it was pulled off by the division rival Toronto Blue Jays. Free agent Franklin Stubbs signed a three-year contract, but it was to play for the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Orioles wanted to sign left-hander Matt Young, but he went to the Red Sox. They wanted Stubbs, but he got $6.4 million to spend the next three seasons in Milwaukee. They wanted to make a big trade, but had to stand on the curb and applaud when the Blue Jays pulled off a impressive, four-player deal with the San Diego Padres.
"We were in there battling," Hemond said of the Stubbs negotiations. "We were aggressively trying to get it done."
That aggressive posture was not evident until the negotiations were over, but agent Jim Turner indicated that the Orioles had been very competitive.
Hemond confirmed that the Orioles also have dropped out of the George Bell derby, though no one seriously believed they ever had a realistic chance to sign him.
The focus yesterday was entirely on Evans, who has expressed an interest in signing a one-year contract with the Orioles, but figures to be something of a gamble.
"It's intriguing," manager Frank Robinson said. "He knows what to do with the bat."
Hemond will not rule out other free-agent avenues.
Talks with Cubs may be in works
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Trade talks could be pending with the Chicago Cubs that could lead to a deal involving 3B Craig Worthington and Cubs OF Dwight Smith.
The Cubs apparently are waiting to see whether they can sign free-agent OF George Bell, which would give them the outfield surplus necessary to work out a deal with the Orioles.
A club source said that there have been no talks yet but the Cubs scouted Orioles third baseman Worthington late in the season and are expected to make some contact in the near future.
The speculation gains more credence when considered in light of comments by manager Frank Robinson yesterday that strongly suggested rookie Leo Gomez would be ready to play every day at third base next year.