Birds hope to acquire Baines for a minor-league package

January 12, 1993|By From Staff Reports Staff writer Ken Rosenthal contributed to this story

An Oakland Athletics official said yesterday that the Orioles are showing "big-time interest" in outfielder/designated hitter Harold Baines, and added that a trade "could happen any time this week."

The Orioles apparently must reach contract terms with Baines, who earned $1.58 million last season. Then, they must finalize the package of minor-league players they will send the A's, who seem unwilling to go to salary arbitration with the veteran.

Baines, who turns 34 in March, has yet to sign a 1993 contract after accepting arbitration and forfeiting his free agency. The Orioles expressed interest in him as a free agent last month, but backed off rather than lose a first-round draft pick as compensation for signing him.

Baines, a native of Easton, was the first pick of Orioles general manager Roland Hemond when he was White Sox GM in 1977. He would serve as a left-handed DH, part-time right fielder and pinch hitter.

His 166 RBI the past two seasons are more than any Oriole except Cal Ripken. He went 11-for-25 (.440) with a game-winning homer off Jack Morris in the American League playoffs. And, despite three knee operations since 1986, he has appeared in at least 132 games in each of the past 11 seasons.

Left-handed hitters accounted for only 24 percent of the Orioles' 148 home runs last season. Brady Anderson, who had a career year, hit 21 of the 35.

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