'Interest,' but no offer yet, for Sabo

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

Without making an offer, the Orioles have let it be known they are interested in signing free-agent third baseman Chris Sabo.

Assistant general manager Doug Melvin confirmed last night that he has had discussions with Jim Bronner, the agent who represents Sabo. "We've talked and will probably continue to talk," Melvin said.

"I can't say we made a real concrete offer -- we talked more about a [salary] range and incentives. We indicated that we were interested in signing him, but that it wasn't something we felt we had to do."

Sabo reportedly has had offers from the Montreal Expos and New York Mets, but neither is believed to be for more than one year or for as much as he made in 1993 with the Cincinnati Reds ($3.1 million).

"I don't think anything will happen in the next few days," Melvin said. "We left it that we would get back in touch with each other."

During a visit here last week, Sabo underwent a physical at the Orioles' request. Melvin said the results of the physical have not deterred the Orioles.

Sabo has a history of back and knee problems, but generally has been a durable player. Getting away from an artificial surface, on TC which the Reds play in Riverfront Stadium, could be a consideration.

The New York Mets and Orioles are believed to be the most serious bidders. Both play on grass.

Sabo's reputation as a hard-nosed performer who has been able to play through physical problems is one reason he is attractive to the Orioles. "He is another veteran player who brings a lot of enthusiasm to the park," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said.

Sabo rejected two offers from the Reds after the season -- one for $6.4 million for two years and one for $2.5 million next season.

Meanwhile, Melvin said that trade talks with Mets GM Joe McIlvaine concerning outfielder Bobby Bonilla have been put on hold.

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