100-RBI guy that you guys always talk about," Angelos said. "I agree. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that which is the ideal."
That 100-RBI man could come in the form of a free-agent first baseman. Angelos mentioned potential free agents Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro as possibilities. He also said the club would have succeeded in acquiring Fred McGriff earlier this year if Angelos had been in control of the club.
Angelos said that he has been looking at the team from a fan's perspective. He was not given the opportunity to study the team from the inside during the two months that he waited for approval of his $173 million bid for the club. But he knows the uncertainty created by the injuries to reliever Gregg Olson and outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds will make it more complicated to upgrade the roster.
Nevertheless, he said he will spend whatever is prudent to improve the team, perhaps signing as many as two or three top players in the free-agent market.
"I have an idea -- an approximation -- but I'm not in a position yet to say we can earmark X million dollars for player improvement," he said. "I can't say we know exactly, but we will certainly be in a position to sign that 100-RBI guy if it is a good and sensible move."
The Orioles payroll was more than $30 million this past season, but the departure of first baseman Glenn Davis will help absorb the inevitable increases that several players will receive when their contracts are rewritten this winter. If Angelos is serious about signing two top quality free agents, that could take the payroll close to $40 million.
"We will make all those expenditures necessary to make sure the ballclub is on top," he said, "but we will never endanger the financial stability of the Orioles."
ISSUES AND ANSWERS
Incoming Orioles managing general partner Peter Angelos spent nearly an hour yesterday discussing the future of the Orioles franchise. Though he announced no personnel decisions, he did touch on several areas of interest to Orioles fans:
On local ownership
"I predict that this club will never leave Baltimore and I promise you that the club will never be controlled by outside interests."
On injured players Gregg Olson and Jeffrey Hammonds
"Obviously, that's a cause for concern, but you journalists worry about it so well, I don't have to. I know they are certainly being well-cared for. We'll take a good hard look and see how things work out. If it turns out they won't be [ready to play next year], then the group will have to consider ways to fill the empty spaces."
On free-agent spending
"I think everybody wants to win. That's because of the nature of the game. The fans want a winner. We all want a winner. I do believe that you've got to be careful that you don't do things with free agency that might jeopardize the financial stability of the club, but I do not preclude the expenditure of substantial sums in the free-agent arena."
On the pitching staff
"Before those three games in Detroit [when the Tigers scored 47 runs], we thought we were in pretty good shape. On the surface, it appears that we need pitching help, and with the problem with Olson, it appears we need help in the bullpen."
On whether the former ownership was not willing to spend on personnel
"I think that's true to an extent, but I also think that the prudent management of the financial resources of this organization is the hallmark of the Orioles organization under Eli Jacobs."
On the unsuccessful attempt to acquire Fred McGriff
"If I would have been around at the time Fred McGriff was going to be traded, I think Fred McGriff would be here today. Some of our key personnel say our offer for him was better than the one the Braves made. Maybe not enough energy was put behind the effort. I think there are many people in Baltimore that believe the Fred McGriff opportunity should have been taken."
On a spring training site
"That is a matter that has to be taken up. I've heard that there are [possibilities] in Sarasota and Fort Lauderdale. My personal choice would be the East Coast and Lauderdale if the Yankees are leaving there, but that's just a story I've heard. We've also heard from Homestead, and we may consider spending a year there because it might help out those people. They called and they were very nice. I told them I would come down there and take a look."