O's offer Orsulak no reason to stay Veteran moves on, as will Clements

December 08, 1992|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Orioles have decided not to offer salary arbitration to free agent Joe Orsulak, effectively ending his five-year career in Baltimore.

Orsulak and agent Ron Shapiro confirmed that there had not been any serious contract negotiations with the club and expressed disappointment that the veteran outfielder would not be a part of the team next season.

"It pretty much seems like that's it," said Shapiro, who is attending the baseball winter meetings at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville.

"So Joe Orsulak's time in Baltimore comes to an end, which is sad for us. He's a trooper, and he'll march on and do what he has to do elsewhere."

nTC Relief pitcher Pat Clements also was not offered arbitration and will not return. The Orioles did offer him a Triple-A contract and an invitation to spring training, but he chose to remain a free

agent and search for a major-league job.

Orsulak, 30, has been a fan favorite in Baltimore since he was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a deal for infielders Terry Crowley and third baseman Rico Rossy on Nov. 6, 1987. He has been one of the club's top contact hitters throughout his five seasons with the Orioles and batted .289 with four home runs and 28 RBI in a platoon role last season.

"Joe has done a fine job for us," general manager Roland Hemond said, "but there were players in our organization who deserved a chance to play. We wish him well. I'm sure he'll be someplace next season."

There has been speculation that the New York Yankees, Montreal Expos and Detroit Tigers will be interested in signing him, though it is not known what kind of contract he can expect in a very crowded free-agent market.

The only thing certain is that he cannot re-sign with the Orioles until May 1, according to the rules governing free agency, since the club chose not to offer him arbitration by last night's midnight deadline. For all practical purposes, that precludes his return to the team at all.

"That's what it looks like," Orsulak said. "They haven't shown any interest at all. Naturally, I would have liked to play in Baltimore, but they didn't show any interest so the job I did wasn't good enough. They obviously wanted to give someone else a chance."

Orsulak said he would confer with Shapiro soon to discuss his options.

"I just want to play with a team that wants me on their team," he said. "Hopefully, there will be somebody that wants me."

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