O's expect to make Sabo offer

December 19, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Pending a review of medical reports on Chris Sabo, the Orioles are expected to make an offer to the Cincinnati Reds' free-agent third baseman.

Sabo was examined by team doctors in Baltimore on Friday, a day after undergoing tests in New York, when he received an offer from the Mets. Neither Sabo, nor his agent, Jim Bronner, was available last night, but they reportedly are waiting to hear from the Orioles before making a decision.

The Montreal Expos and the Mets are the only teams that have expressed interest in Sabo since he rejected the Reds' one-year, $2.5 million offer two weeks ago. Neither offer is believed to be for more than one year, nor for as much guaranteed money as Sabo turned down from the Reds.

According to Bronner, the Mets and Orioles got positive reports from Sabo's examinations. Mets general manager Joe McIlvaine confirmed he was satisfied with the results.

The Orioles are expected to get the formal report tomorrow, after which they will make a decision. That they brought Sabo in for a physical is an indication they are prepared to make an offer.

If the Orioles' expected offer is accepted by Sabo, it could set up even more off-season activity. McIlvaine has acknowledged that he talked to the Orioles last week about a possible trade for switch-hitting outfielder Bobby Bonilla.

"We talked the day after they signed [Rafael] Palmeiro," McIlvaine told The New York Times. "We advanced to them some names that we thought would have a chance of making it go, but we haven't heard much since then."

Among other things, the Mets need a third baseman and a first baseman. With Palmeiro signed, first baseman David Segui is in limbo, and if the Orioles sign Sabo, third baseman Leo Gomez also would be expendable.

The Mets are known to covet shortstop Manny Alexander, but he and pitcher Arthur Rhodes are the young prospects the Orioles are least inclined to trade. Even with their expanded payroll, the Orioles would have trouble fitting Bonilla into their budget unless they included center fielder Mike Devereaux ($3 million last year) in a deal.

Bonilla has three years left on a $25 million, five-year contract, but because that agreement was front-loaded, his salary for the rest of the deal is less than $15 million.

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