Orioles, Clark pick up talks

November 22, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Another day, another impasse?

The negotiations between the Orioles and free-agent first baseman Will Clark, which were suspended Saturday, apparently heated up again yesterday.

But, amid some speculation that the San Franciso Giants would drop out of the bidding to retain Clark, there was no indication that the two sides were any closer to a deal.

Jeff Moorad, Clark's agent, said Saturday that negotiations "broke down" and that there were "no definitive plans to meet again." However, none of the principals involved in the talks returned phone calls last night, perhaps an indication that more definitive plans had been hastily arranged.

Moorad later told West Coast sources that he had met with the Orioles again yesterday and that the talks were "productive."

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the Giants announced the signing of free-agent pitcher Mark Portugal. The right-hander agreed to a three-year, $11 million deal.

A year after they gave Barry Bonds a six-year, $43.75 million contract and a week after signing second baseman Robby Thompson to a three-year deal worth $12 million, the Giants could be near their maximum salary budget.

But general manager Bob Quinn said the Giants still wanted to re-sign Clark, who has spent his eight-year, major-league career in San Francisco. The left-handed hitter became a free agent after completing a four-year, $16 million contract.

"That [signing Clark] is the only thing left today," Quinn said after the announcement of Portugal's signing. The Giants originally offered Clark $14 million for three years, but restructured their proposal late last week.

Length of contract is believed to be the stumbling block in the Giants' negotiations with Clark, who is seeking a contract that basically would guarantee the rest of his career. He also has said he would prefer to play his entire career with the Giants.

The Orioles are believed willing to guarantee Clark at least $20 million for four years and probably would go longer in length of contract. For the Orioles, dollars apparently are the stumbling block.

Besides the Giants, the Texas Rangers and the Orioles are considered to be the most serious bidders for Clark.

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