Eddie Murray did not hit 30 home runs or even 20 last season. But the unspectacular performance apparently has not greatly dampened interest in the former Baltimore Orioles first baseman.
Since Murray filed for free agency last week, three major-league teams have expressed interest in talking to him about next season, said his representative, Baltimore attorney Ron Shapiro.
Shapiro declined to name the teams, but did say he has not been contacted by the Orioles, for whom Murray played from 1977 to 1988.
As for the teams and cities Murray would consider, Shapiro said yesterday: "I don't think he has excluded any possibilities. He doesn't view geographical limitations as being key at all. He has matured over the years. He is looking for an opportunity that meets the criteria he is developing."
Among other things, Shapiro said, Murray will weigh each contract by the positions he might be asked to play and the number of years he is offered.
Murray and the Orioles parted as less than friends after the 1988 season, when the first baseman effectively forced the team to trade him to a West Coast team, ultimately the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But three years may have softened hard feelings a little. Although he said he has not talked to Murray about it, Shapiro didn't rule out Murray's possibly returning to the Orioles. He called that prospect "an intriguing idea."
The Orioles apparently aren't about to leap into negotiations. General manager Roland Hemond said yesterday that team officials haven't discussed bidding for Murray "to any extent."
Murray, 35, had one of his least productive seasons in 1991. He batted .260 with 19 home runs and 96 RBI for the Dodgers. But the switch-hitter, who has 398 career homers, was hampered by injuries throughout the second half of the season, including a serious rib injury.