Orioles set Segui free, to Mets

March 28, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Sun Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Orioles made a move yesterday that helps resolve the logjam on their roster -- and could enhance the career of David Segui.

Shortly after yesterday's 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, general manager Roland Hemond announced that Segui had been traded to the New York Mets for two minor-league players. Right-handed reliever Tom Wegmann, who pitched for Orioles coach Davey Lopes in the Arizona Fall League last year, and shortstop Kevin Baez have both been assigned to Triple-A Rochester.

There was more than a small touch of irony connected with the trade. Segui is going to the Mets because New York has not been satisfied with Glenn Davis -- the first of two free agents who blocked his path with the Orioles.

"I don't really know what their plans are other than they want me to be in Melbourne for a game tomorrow [today]," said Segui. "But I guess it is ironical. Glenn and I are very good friends -- I went hunting with him this winter and stopped to see him when we were in Fort Lauderdale [two weeks ago]."

Segui said he was elated with yesterday's news, especially after a pre-game meeting with general manager Roland Hemond in which the subject of Segui's possibly playing in Rochester was raised.

"I just wanted to get my mind set right," said Segui, 27, who requested a meeting with manager Johnny Oates and met with Hemond. "I wanted to find out if I had to get it set to back up Raffy [Rafael Palmeiro], or for a trade. I was going to be happy with whatever they told me."

Until, that is, he found out that Rochester was one of the possibilities.

After hearing that, the switch-hitting first baseman embraced news of the trade after the game. "Heck yeah," he replied. "This is what I've been waiting for -- hoping for -- the whole winter, since they signed Raffy.

"It would have been nice if they had gotten it done earlier, but this is better than Rochester, where it looked like I was going. But part of me is sad, too, because I'm leaving guys I came up with -- sometimes it's hard to say 'see you later.'

"It's something you know will happen when you sign to play this game. Very few players get to spend their whole career in the same place. I would've loved to have been able to do that in Baltimore -- but my career might've only been two more years.

"I would like to play a lot longer than that and I'm thankful to Roland for making this deal and helping my career. Now, I hope something good will happen for Leo [Gomez]."

Segui and Gomez lost their jobs during the winter when the Orioles signed free agents Palmeiro and Chris Sabo to play first and third base, respectively. The Orioles still are shopping Gomez, but Hemond said talks were "soft" at the moment.

The trade of Segui, who would've been optioned to Rochester only as a last resort, gives the Orioles more maneuverability. Oates still is wrestling with the roster, pondering how many extra infielders and outfielders to keep, and whether he can find room for a third catcher.

But Oates was more preoccupied yesterday with his feelings for Segui. "He was the first player I talked to when I became manager," Oates said. "At the time he was considered to be a fringe player -- between Triple-A and the major leagues. I told him as far as I was concerned he was a major-league player, and I still feel that way today.

"I always thought a great deal of him, but I think even more of him now because of the way he handled himself under difficult circumstances," said Oates.

Hemond said the deal with the Mets came through swiftly after New York's proposed trade for California first baseman J. T. Snow fell through. The Mets "had indicated there was a possibility [of trading for Segui]," he said. "But they were talking to another club and said if that fell through they'd get back to us."

The talks with the Angels collapsed when the Mets wouldn't part with right-hander Anthony Young, a pitcher about whom the Orioles also had inquired. "We had some conversation [about Young], but he's in their plans," said Hemond.

The Orioles settled for Wegmann, 25, who was 5-3 with a 3.23 ERA at Triple-A Norfolk last year and then struck out 59 in 47 innings while compiling a 5-1 record (2.70 ERA) for Lopes' Tucson team in the AFL. Baez, 27, led the Puerto Rico Winter League with a .348 average last season, but did not show any offense in three brief trials with the Mets.

Baez gives the Orioles protection at the Triple-A level, with shortstop Manny Alexander scheduled to open the season on the disabled list. Alexander hasn't played since having surgery to remove a skin tumor on his thigh March 10.

SEGUI'S STATS

Year .. G .. .. AB .. Avg .. HR .. RBI

1990 . 40 .. . 123 . .244 ... 2 ... 15

1991 . 86 .. . 212 . .278 ... 2 ... 22

1992 115 .. . 189 . .233 ... 1 ... 17

1993 146 .. . 450 . .273 .. 10 ... 60

Tot.. 387 .. . 974 . .263 .. 15 .. 114

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