All things considered, outfielder Jack Voigt acknowledged after the Orioles traded him to Texas for minor-league pitcher John Dettmer yesterday, everything worked out for the best.
Voigt wasn't playing for the Orioles, and his new general manager (Doug Melvin) and manager (Johnny Oates) know him and want him. In fact, Voigt, who had one at-bat in the first three weeks of the season for the Orioles, was in the starting lineup for the Rangers last night, going 0-for-3 and striking out twice.
"I would've liked to have stayed with the club that I was farm-grown with," Voigt said. "But . . . there are people there [Texas] who have trust in my abilities. They're the ones who got me to the big leagues."
Voigt had a feeling he would not be with the Orioles for long, because he didn't play much in spring training.
"It was frustrating," he said, "because I'm not the type of guy who's going to go into the manager's office and say, 'Why am I not playing?' Nobody came to me and told me anything, for the most part. There was no communication. He [manager Phil Regan] knew where I was. I was here every day, in the same spot on the bench. But he had [Sherman] Obando and [Damon] Buford against left-handers, and [Kevin] Bass to switch-hit. There was no room for me.
"It's a business. There's no hard feelings."
Voigt said he leaves the Orioles with lots of good memories -- and one regret. "I'm going to miss a lot of good friends on this club. The guys who used to joke with me a lot, like Brady [Anderson] and Cal [Ripken] turned out to be some of my best supporters."
Voigt said Ripken had always been a good teammate, willing to talk to Voigt whenever he needed to talk -- like in the last few weeks.
"I'm disappointed," Voigt said, "that I'm not going to be around to see him break the streak [record]."
Dettmer, 25, who will be assigned to Triple-A Rochester, has had tremendous success in the minor leagues, a career 32-5 mark. But he's not considered a major prospect because he can't throw hard, his fastball topping out at 82-83 mph.
Many baseball people, however, think he could be a successful middle reliever in time because he has good control, a great curveball, and has a good feel for pitching.
Oates took a backhanded slap at Dettmer after the deal. "I saw him a lot pitching against us last year," Oates said. "I think there are a lot of pitchers out there equal [to him]. They're probably three or four who were released yesterday."
Funny thing is, Dettmer never actually pitched against the Orioles last year, during spring training or the regular season.
Dettmer started this season on the Rangers' roster and made one relief appearance before being demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He may start this weekend for the Red Wings, but then is expected to be moved into middle relief.
To make room for Dettmer on their 40-man roster, the Orioles designated pitcher John Shea for assignment, less than 24 hours after placing Shea on their roster so they could designate Voigt ++ for assignment. The Orioles have up to 10 days to decide Shea's fate, and they must pass him through waivers to return him to the minors.
On the contract front
The Orioles and pitcher Mike Mussina are about $2.5 million apart in negotiations for a three-year contract, after the Orioles gave another proposal to Mussina's agent yesterday.
The Orioles have offered in the range of $10 million over three years, while Mussina's agent, Arn Tellem, has reduced his request to about $12.5 million. Both sides remain optimistic that a deal will be completed soon.
The Orioles also discussed a settlement with the agent for second baseman Bret Barberie, who, along with Mussina and pitcher Ben McDonald, is eligible for salary arbitration.
Around the horn
The Orioles signed right-handed pitcher Terry Clark, 34, to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Rochester. Clark started the year with the Atlanta Braves and compiled a 4.91 ERA (two runs in 3 2/3 innings) before being released, after he refused an assignment to the minors. . . . Washington Bullets center Chris Webber will take batting practice with the Orioles today. . . . Including last night, the Orioles are 0-7 in games in which they have made an error. . . . A fourth-inning single by Lou Whitaker was the 2,300th hit of his career. . . . Andy Van Slyke, who went on the disabled list Sunday, said his strained left forearm "is progressing very well. I anticipate it being ready before [he's eligible to come off the disabled list]. I'll start hitting when I feel it won't do any damage."