Davis, Orioles talking long ball in contracts, too

January 15, 1991|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Evening Sun Staff

There are several avenues the Orioles and Glenn Davis can pursue in their negotiations, but the one that could produce a long-term agreement is the top priority for both.

Although he's barely had a chance to get acquainted with Baltimore and some people in the organization, Davis is willing to make a significant commitment if the proper deal can be worked out.

"We're hoping that what takes place this week could have a positive effect toward having Glenn play the rest of his career here," said Mike Moye, an associate of Robert Fraley, who represents Davis. Moye indicated they would be willing to start negotiations for a long-term contract immediately, but also were prepared for other, short-term, possibilities.

As a formality, Moye filed for arbitration yesterday on behalf of his client. "We waited as long as possible [today is the deadline] in order to get a better reading of the situation," said Moye. "We're hoping that we don't have to go through the process, but we've been there before [Davis won a $1.985 million award last year] and we're prepared to go again if necessary."

Asked if, in the absence of a long-term agreement, it is possible Davis might accept a contract for this year and next, Moye wouldn't rule out the possibility, but declined to discuss specifics.

"We aren't coming in with any preconceived plans," he said. "But the ballclub has expressed the desire to keep negotiations private, and we have no problem with that."

Orioles president Larry Lucchino, who said shortly after last week's trade with Houston that he expected Davis to file for arbitration, reiterated the club's desire to keep negotiations private.

"I know it's frustrating for you [the media], but we're not going to discuss whatever approach we might take," he said.

"We do that with Cal [Ripken], we do it with Jeff McKnight and everybody else," said Lucchino. "And that's the way we're going to do it with Glenn."

At a news conference yesterday, Davis said a long-term contract would be the fourth step of his acclimation project. "I would like to know how long I'm going to be in Baltimore," he said, "but there are a few other steps to be taken. The first step, which we've kind of taken, is to get to know some people in the organization. The second is to find a home. The third is to get ready for spring training and make the mental adjustment [to changing teams and leagues].

"The fourth step would be getting a contract, so I know what my future is," said Davis, who said he was looking forward to playing in the new stadium that will open in 1992. "I just recently found out about the new plans. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to play in that ballpark."

As for his role with the Orioles, Davis made it clear he felt first base was his best position, but said he was willing to play wherever manager Frank Robinson felt he was needed.

"I always felt I've been a versatile player," he said. "My trade is first base. I've been an All-Star first baseman. If my manager wants me to play first base, that's great. If he wants to try me in the outfield, that's OK. And if they want me to DH some, that's fine too."

Davis wouldn't speculate on how many home runs he might hit in the smaller American League parks. "I don't thrive on numbers," he said. "I work hard and I play to win."

However, in only six years in the big leagues, all in Houston's spacious Astrodome, Davis is the only Astros player to hit 30 or more home runs in three different seasons. Last year he hit 22, despite missing 69 games because of a rib cage injury.

In his career he has hit 57 percent (94 of 166) of his home runs away from the Astrodome. He says a conservative estimate would be to add five home runs to his annual total -- and that's without understanding how accommodating Memorial Stadium has become over the years.

"I'm excited about coming, and look forward to playing here," said Davis. He'll have a lot of company, especially if the Orioles can find a way to negotiate a contract that will keep him here beyond next year.

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