Will Milligan be replacing Murray again? Winter meetings notes

December 09, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. B — MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have confirmed that they have interest in Baltimore Orioles first baseman Randy Milligan, who might end up as an Eddie Murray replacement for the second time in his career.

"That's the type of player we will look at," said Dodgers general manager Fred Claire, "but if we go into spring training with Eric Karros, I will not be uncomfortable with that."

Karros is a promising first baseman, but the Dodgers would rather go with a more experienced player while he develops. Milligan fits that description, and he is considered the most tradable player on the Orioles roster.

Orioles general manager Roland Hemond confirmed that trade talks did take place with the Dodgers yesterday. The club also held meetings with the Toronto Blue Jays, Montreal Expos and New York Mets.

"When you're in the early stages of the convention, you talk to a lot of clubs," he said. "Most of them are long shots. I don't think anything is necessarily imminent."

There is no pressure to complete a deal at the winter meetings, which run through Wednesday. The Orioles laid the groundwork for last year's Glenn Davis deal at the meetings in Chicago and did not complete the trade until January. But Hemond does not like to go home empty-handed.

He said yesterday that discussions with three of the teams centered on second base, where Bill Ripken's once-secure hold on the position no longer is assured.

The Expos have prompted the most rumors involving the Orioles, but the teams appear to be having trouble finding any common ground. The Orioles have been in regular contact with the Mets since the end of the regular season, but the chemistry of that club has changed dramatically with the signing of Bobby Bonilla and Murray.

Hemond also has expressed interest in Toronto outfielder Rob Ducey, but it seems unlikely that the Orioles will complete a deal with their AL East rivals.

Reds trade Myers to Padres

In a trade that has been rumored for the past week, the Cincinnati Reds traded relief stopper Randy Myers to the San Diego Padres for infielder/outfielder Bip Roberts and a minor-league player to be named.

Roberts, 28, has a .291 career batting average in five major-league seasons, all with the Padres. Myers was 4-6 with 31 saves for the Reds. He had pitched two seasons with the Reds after coming over from the New York Mets in a deal John Franco in 1989.

Sheets to play in Japan

Former Orioles outfielder Larry Sheets has signed a one-year contract with the Yokohama Taiyo Whales that will pay him more than $1 million for the 1992 season.

Sheets turned down a two-year offer from a Japanese club last year to accept a spring tryout with the Orioles, but was released before the start of the regular season.

Another former Orioles outfielder, Phil Bradley, has returned from a season in Japan and may sign with a major-league club soon. Agent Jim Turner said Bradley is talking to four clubs, none of which is the Orioles.

McCaskill tour

Free-agent pitcher Kirk McCaskill is expected to visit Baltimore next week for face-to-face negotiations with the Orioles, but that doesn't seem to bother California Angels senior vice president Whitey Herzog.

"I want to sign him," Herzog said, "but if he goes somewhere else, I'll just have to go out and find someone else."

The Angels would appear to have a more urgent need for McCaskill now that pitching prospect Kyle Abbott has been dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies. Abbott was expected to compete for the fifth spot in the Angels' starting rotation.

Melvin to Boston?

Rumors persist that Orioles assistant general manager Doug Melvin will soon join the Boston Red Sox front office as the heir apparent to GM Lou Gorman, but Melvin said yesterday that he has not been in contact with anyone in the Red Sox organization.

Herzog on Bonds

Herzog didn't mince words when he was asked if he would be interested in acquiring disgruntled Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Barry Bonds.

"If I said yes, I'd be tampering," Herzog said. "If I said no, I'd be a nitwit."

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