Now that the holidays are over, it's banquet business as usual for the Orioles.
In between stops, however, a few baseball decisions will be made. The most pressing will be the Orioles' continued interest in Houston first baseman Glenn Davis.
Manager Frank Robinson and general manager Roland Hemond were scheduled to talk today, the first of several informal meetings in the next 10 days. Robinson's arrival in Baltimore coincides with Friday night's "Tops In Sports" banquet and next week's start of the Orioles' annual Winter Caravan.
Back at his desk for only two days since a holiday vacation, Hemond says he's still "getting back in gear." He admitted having a "short conversation" with Houston general manager Bill Woods, but offered no other insight to speculation about a possible trade for Davis, a righthanded power hitter whom the Astros reportedly are anxious to trade before he becomes eligible for free agency next year.
"I was just checking in and letting him [Woods] know I was back," said Hemond. "One of the big problems in our game, I think, is talking about day-to-day business -- and then you don't do anything."
However, it is a foregone conclusion that Davis is available, and that the Orioles could get him if they come up with the right combination of young players.
Whether the Orioles can afford to trade for Davis -- either talent-wise or money-wise -- remains to be seen.
The Astros reportedly are interested in a package of three or four from a group that includes outfielder Steve Finley, pitchers Pete Harnisch, Curt Schilling and (minor-league prospect) Arthur Rhodes and first basemen Randy Milligan and David Segui. Davis, on the other hand, reportedly told the Astros it would take an offer of $25 million for five years for him to sign an extension.
Those numbers are considered scare tactics for the Astros. They have the same effect on the Orioles, who nevertheless might take the gamble if the Astros reduce their asking price in talent if Davis remains unsigned beyond 1991.
* The Orioles removed another possibility from their arbitration-eligible list yesterday when infielder Tim Hulett agreed to a $327,500 contract for 1991.
Hulett, who broke a bone in his left hand during spring training, hit .255 in 53 games after missing the first two months of last season. He hit .372 in 14 games with Rochester on a rehabilitation assignment.
* Despite yesterday's snowfall, the Orioles began their "official" offseason workouts yesterday under the supervision of coach Elrod Hendricks.
Pitchers Kevin Hickey, Dave Johnson, Anthony Telford, Curt Schilling, Mike Linskey and Harnisch participated along with catcher Chris Hoiles. Also on hand were free-agent pitcher Brian Holton (apparently about to return to the National League) and outfielder Mel Wearing, who played last year at Frederick.