CLEVELAND -- Orioles general manager Pat Gillick said yesterday the decision of owner Peter Angelos to veto some of his trade proposals won't curtail his tenure with the club.
"I don't think so," he said from his Camden Yards office. "As my mind is right now, it's not going to have any effect."
Gillick is in the first year of a $2.4 million, three-year contract. He was asked if he foresees himself staying with the Orioles for the duration of that deal. "I don't see why not," he replied. "Up to this point, we haven't gotten accomplished what we wanted to accomplish. There's still a lot of work to be done here."
In late June, Angelos vetoed a five-player trade with Cleveland that would've included Eddie Murray and Bobby Bonilla, believing the Orioles needed Bonilla -- a free agent after this season -- to compete. Leading up to the trade deadline of last Wednesday at midnight, Angelos said no to a trade that would've sent pitcher David Wells to Seattle for two minor-league prospects, including catcher Chris Widger, a player coveted by the Orioles' front office.
Trading Wells -- another year-end free agent -- would've effectively removed the Orioles from contention for the AL East title and wild card, and Angelos told Gillick he didn't think that was right to do when the team already had sold tickets for the final two months of home games.
Last Wednesday, Gillick proposed dealing Wells and Jeffrey Hammonds to Cleveland for outfielder Jeromy Burnitz and pitcher Alan Embree, and Angelos said no. The owner also curtailed discussions about a multi-player deal with Cincinnati that would've sent Bonilla to the Reds for Triple-A outfielder Steve Gibralter and others. Again, Angelos cited the need to keep a competitive team on the field.
Gillick said yesterday that he consulted with Angelos regularly during the off-season, when Roberto Alomar, B. J. Surhoff, Randy Myers and others signed with the Orioles. "Any time you're going to make that kind of expenditure," Gillick said, "ownership has to play a part in that. I kept Mr. Angelos informed, whatever it was we were trying to do.
"In this particular situation last week, his opinion was that what we wanted to do . . . was a shift of policy . . . a change in direction."
The shift was from trying to contend in '96 to rebuilding for '97, which may have been a good move for baseball operations. "[Angelos] didn't have objections to the players we were looking at," Gillick said. Rather, he was looking at it as a shift in business policy.
"When you look at it from that standpoint," Gillick said, "I can't disagree with him."
Because the Orioles seriously lack depth at the top of their minor-league system, to make changes they'll be forced to again heavily invest in the free-agent market this off-season, and may increase their payroll, already at $48 million.
"I think the Orioles are committed to winning," Gillick said, "whatever moves we're making."
Gillick was asked if the relationship between himself and Angelos is unaffected. "Yeah, I think so," Gillick said. "He doesn't agree with me all the time, and I don't agree with him all the time. I don't think there's anything wrong with this discussion, conversation or debate, or whatever you want to call it. I'm not inhibited discussing any topic with him at any time."