Johnson, Thrift on Orioles trade patrol With no GM in place, they're watching market

November 14, 1995|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

New Orioles manager Davey Johnson isn't exactly sure what his team needs in possible trades, and he has little idea what is being offered by other clubs. So he and Orioles farm director Syd Thrift began talking to other executives yesterday at the major-league general manager meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., with the idea of doing a little early reconnaissance.

"We're going to see what's stirring around," said Thrift, who is representing the Orioles at the request of Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who is in the process of picking a new general manager.

Thrift and Johnson indicated they had heard little in the way of trade talks. Most of the general managers Thrift talked to informally, he said, seem more inclined to wait and see what develops among free agents.

Johnson's former boss, Cincinnati Reds general manager Jim Bowden, has made it clear he would like to make a major deal immediately. Bowden would like to slash his payroll, and is dangling pitchers John Smiley, Dave Burba, Pete Schourek and David Wells and asking for prospects in return.

"But that's Jim," Johnson said. "He's always looking to make a big deal."

It's highly unlikely the Orioles would deal with Bowden. Two club sources indicated last night that the Orioles will pursue pitchers on the free-agent market, rather than give up minor-league prospects such as Rocky Coppinger and Jimmy Haynes.

The Orioles are expected to name their general manager in the near future -- perhaps in the next few days. Seven candidates have been interviewed, and it appears Angelos is choosing among former Montreal Expos GM Kevin Malone, 38; former Detroit Tigers GM Joe Klein, 53; and New York Mets scouting director John Barr, 37, although Barr likely is a long shot because of his relative lack of experience.

Klein is at the Arizona meetings as part of a player development committee formed by the Commissioner's Office.

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