O's rejected offer to get Murray back Indians sought Bonilla, Hammonds in trade

July 03, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

TORONTO -- Eddie Murray, an Oriole again?

No. But according to several league sources, Orioles officials recently considered trading outfielders Bobby Bonilla and Jeffrey Hammonds to the Cleveland Indians for Murray and outfielder Jeromy Burnitz.

But the trade is dead, the sources say, with the Orioles responsible for killing it, indicating to Indians officials that they're better off keeping Bonilla and hoping he'll keep on producing.

The Indians, who have been unhappy with Murray since spring training, approached the Orioles a couple of weeks ago, with a couple of assumptions: First, the Orioles have been unhappy with Bonilla's distaste for being the designated hitter; and secondly, Murray would be a lure for the Orioles, with him just 10 homers away from 500 for his career.

Burnitz is regarded as a solid outfield prospect, another attraction for the Orioles, who have been searching for outfielders -- particularly with Hammonds struggling.

But Orioles officials decided against the deal, in part because the addition of Murray and the subtraction of Bonilla would give them yet another strong left-handed hitter, adding to an imbalance.

Murray, 40, is hitting .257 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs. He last played for the Orioles in 1988. Burnitz, 27, is hitting .292 as a part-time outfielder for the Indians. Going into last night, Hammonds was batting .146 at Triple-A Rochester since being demoted two weeks ago.

Pub Date: 7/03/96

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