Jackson tops O's wish list

SIDELIGHT

July 23, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Undaunted by the threat of a players strike, the Orioles remain in pursuit of pitching help and have identified Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Danny Jackson as No. 1 on their wish list.

The Phillies also have been talking with the Cincinnati Reds about Jackson and are holding on to him in hopes that more clubs will enter the race, thus driving up his price.

The Orioles also have talked with the St. Louis Cardinals about right-hander Bob Tewksbury and with the Pittsburgh Pirates about left-hander Zane Smith. But while the organization is split over the value of those pitchers, everyone agrees Jackson would fit the description of the type pitcher the Orioles desire for the stretch run.

Orioles assistant general manager Frank Robinson acknowledged the club also has talked with the Minnesota Twins (Kevin Tapani, Scott Erickson), but the Twins have not been as interested in talking trade as the Phillies.

"Every time we talk with Minnesota, they say they don't want to give up their pitching," Robinson said.

Thus far, the Orioles have done nothing in the way of acquiring pitching help other than talk, but Robinson predicts they will.

"I would say yes, we will definitely make a trade before the season is over," Robinson said. "We'll get it done."

The Pirates are seeking young prospects for Smith, who was hit hard in his last start Thursday night but still came out of it with an ERA (3.63) unsullied by 1994 inflation.

The Cardinals, resigned to the reality they have fallen out of the pennant race, are seeking pitching help for 1995 and would be willing to make a deal for a player or players to be named.

The probability of a strike has not handcuffed the Orioles to the extent they can't reach for the phone, according to Robinson.

"It may be slowing down some ballclubs, but not us," Robinson said. "Why should it? You don't know if there is going to be one. If you feel like you need something and the owner says go do it, you go do it."

Orioles owner Peter Angelos has given the front office the freedom to pursue available high-priced talent, according to Robinson. The Pirates and Cardinals both are interested in reducing their payrolls.

The Orioles are not unaware of the risks of acquiring a pitcher such as Tewksbury, who becomes eligible for free agency at season's end. Any deal made, Robinson said, would be made with the idea of signing the pitcher to a contract extension.

"We're looking for somebody not just to finish out the year, but possibly to stay with us for two or three years," Robinson said. "But it still has to be a deal we like. We don't want to panic and give up young players just to make a deal. If we feel like the deal is a good deal for the Baltimore organization, we'll make it. If we don't feel like it's in our best interest to do it, we won't."

Tewksbury (10-9, 5.07, $3.5 million) has rebounded from a slump in which he lost six consecutive starts. He shut out the Atlanta Braves on July 7 and allowed two earned runs in his last start.

The Cincinnati Reds are competing on the trade market against the Orioles for the same pitchers.

Reds general manager Jim Bowden has Smith ranked first on his wish list, Jackson second, Tewksbury third.

The Cleveland Indians, reeling from the news right-hander Mark Clark will be sidelined six to eight weeks with a broken wrist, also have entered the race to land a starting pitcher.

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