Baines designates interest in Orioles

December 15, 1992|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

The agent for free-agent outfielder Harold Baines confirmed yesterday that his client is very interested in playing for the Orioles next season, but it remains to be seen if the club will make a serious attempt to sign him.

Agent Jack Sands has been in contact with general manager Roland Hemond and club president Larry Lucchino, who have expressed an interest in adding some left-handed power to the Orioles' lineup, but several factors could affect the way the roster eventually is configured.

"It is no secret that Harold Baines would love to play for the Orioles," Sands said from his Boston office. "I've expressed that to Roland and Larry. We are talking, but it's somewhat complex because of the first base/DH situation."

Baines, who was born and still lives in Easton, played occasionally in the outfield with the Oakland Athletics last year, though a history of knee problems has pigeonholed him as a designated hitter. The Orioles are expected to use Glenn Davis as the full-time DH if he cannot play regularly at first base, so his condition could be a complicating factor.

"I think Harold showed last year that he still can play right field on occasion," Sands said. "I'm hoping that something can be worked out. We'd like to sign with the Orioles. The ball is in their court."

But the most troublesome issue for the Orioles may be Baines' status as a Type-A free agent who has been offered arbitration by the Athletics. If the Orioles sign him before Jan. 8, they would have to compensate the Oakland with their first-round pick in next year's June draft, something the club is understandably reluctant to do in light of the success it has had in the draft the past four years.

Baines will have a decision to make at the end of the week. He can accept arbitration Dec. 19 and return to the Athletics, or decline it and continue to negotiate with Oakland and other clubs.

If he fails to re-sign with the Athletics by Jan. 8, he would be prohibited from rejoining that team until May 1 and would cease to be a compensation player.

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