Baines deal could be pact away Orioles, A's resolve all but '93 contract

January 14, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Indications are that negotiations in the proposed trade of Harold Baines from the Oakland Athletics to the Orioles have reached the final stage.

The teams are believed close to an agreement on the minor leaguers who would be exchanged for Baines, leaving his contract for next season as the last piece to the puzzle.

Orioles president Larry Lucchino and general manager Roland Hemond refused to comment yesterday. But neither denied the Orioles' interest in Baines, a lifelong resident of Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Jack Sands, who represents Baines, said Tuesday that he thought there was "better than a 50-50 chance" the deal would be made and that he "should know something within 24 hours." He was unavailable yesterday, leading to speculation that he was trying to work out financial arrangements so the trade could be completed.

Baines, who made $1.58 million last year, has until tomorrow to file for arbitration. The Orioles won't make the deal unless they have an agreement before the deadline.

A lifetime .286 hitter, with 241 home runs and 1,066 RBI during his 13-year career, Baines has expressed an interest in returning to the East Coast.

And the Orioles have, at various times since Hemond took over as GM in 1988, made inquiries about the left-handed slugger's availability.

"Roland has always liked Harold and tried to get him last year," said a West Coast source familiar with the pursuit of Baines, whom Hemond chose first in the 1977 draft while White Sox GM. "I think it will happen."

After filing for free agency, Baines was offered arbitration by the A's to preserve their compensation rights in case he signed with another team.

But, looking to pare their bulging payroll, the A's would rather trade for minor leaguers than go through an expensive arbitration case.

Pitchers Anthony Telford, Mike Oquist and Jeff Williams have been discussed. The A's likely have interest in left-hander John O'Donoghue, but the Orioles probably don't want to part with him.

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