O's making Gomez pitch to Twins and Red Sox

March 22, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Sun Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA — ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Orioles could be getting close to trading third baseman Leo Gomez in an effort to improve their pitching depth.

The Minnesota Twins, definitely in need of a third baseman, are the key team at the moment, but the Boston Red Sox also have entered the picture.

Though he wouldn't be specific, general manager Roland Hemond said the Orioles have some ongoing discussions.

"Things should pick up in the next two weeks," he said. "Once teams get down to 30 players, it's often difficult to cut those last five players."

That figures to be the case with Gomez, with other clubs trying to out-wait the Orioles, who have free-agent acquisition Chris Sabo entrenched at third base. The Twins could be involved, either directly or indirectly, in a deal for Gomez.

"I saw [Minnesota GM] Andy MacPhail over the weekend, and he didn't pursue it," said Hemond.

The Twins reportedly are focusing on talks with the Red Sox, who need an outfielder and would be willing to take on Shane Mack's $3 million salary. In return, the Twins are said to be asking for Scott Cooper, the current Red Sox third baseman, and promising young reliever Ken Ryan.

The Twins are said to be ready to make the deal with Boston if Ryan is included; the Red Sox would prefer substituting another prospect from their solid pitching staff.

"Maybe I won't hear from Andy until later," said Hemond, referring to the talks between the Twins and Red Sox.

In anticipation of a trade that would send Cooper to Minnesota, the Red Sox have had scout Sam Mele following the Orioles to observe Gomez. If the Red Sox-Twins trade is completed, Boston would offer the Orioles a pitcher, possibly right-hander Paul Quantrill, for Gomez.

Quantrill appeared in 49 games for the Red Sox last year, 14 as a starter. He compiled only a 6-12 record, but had a 3.91 ERA.

If the Red Sox-Twins trade falls through, the Orioles apparently would try to deal Gomez to the Twins, making him part of a package attractive enough to get Kevin Tapani. The 30-year-old right-hander was 12-15 (4.43 ERA) last year, but won 16 games in each of the two previous seasons.

To obtain Tapani, the Orioles would have to include one or two of the organization's better prospects.

While waiting for the outcome of negotiations between the Red Sox and Twins, the Orioles also are looking in other directions for pitching help. In Arizona, scouts Gordon Goldsberry and Curt Motton are keeping an eye on Milwaukee's Bill Wegman.

Like Tapani, Wegman is coming off a down year, with a 4-14 record (4.48 ERA) in 1993. However, the 31-year-old right-hander was 15-7 (2.84 ERA) in 1991 and 13-14 (3.20 ERA) in 1992.

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