Jeffrey Hammonds' agent said the outfielder would welcome a trade following the Orioles' decision not to invite Hammonds to travel and work out with the team during the playoffs.
Hammonds, the Orioles' No. 1 pick in the 1992 amateur draft and a major-leaguer for parts of four seasons, injured his left knee Aug. 15 and did not play for the Orioles after being activated from the disabled list Sept. 22. At the time, manager Davey Johnson said Hammonds did not play because he was rusty, the Orioles were fighting for playoff position and the team was worried that Hammonds might aggravate the injury.
Reserve outfielder Tony Tarasco, catcher Cesar Devarez and pitchers Rick Krivda and Mike Milchin, all in their first or second year with the Orioles, were also ineligible to play at the start of the Division Series, but were asked to stay with the team in case someone was injured. Those four players were in uniform and in the dugout for every postseason game.
Jeff Moorad, Hammonds' California-based agent, said Hammonds, 25, recently visited him in California to talk about the Orioles' decision not to keep him during the playoffs.
"We talked about it quite a bit," Moorad said. "It was certainly a disappointment. Certainly, the indications are that Jeffrey's career in Baltimore may be a thing of the past.
"I think the final chapter of his Baltimore stay was likely the playoff experience. In reading the signals and between the lines a bit, it certainly wouldn't surprise me if Jeffrey is playing elsewhere next season."
Orioles assistant general manager Kevin Malone said the Orioles discussed making Hammonds a playoff reserve, but decided against it because they already had four reserves selected.
"We felt like Tarasco would be better suited to fill our needs, because of the question marks on B. J.," Malone said in reference to B. J. Surhoff's knee and ankle injuries. "We felt like Jeffrey was behind Tarasco. It's nothing personal."
Moorad said he discussed Hammonds' future with Orioles general manager Pat Gillick and Malone, and said he has no imminent plans to demand a trade. However, considering Hammonds' inclusion in several proposed trades near the Aug. 1 deadline, Moorad said he would not be surprised if Hammonds is dealt.
"Baltimore was his absolute first choice as a city to play in as we evaluated teams in the 1992 draft, and yet, at this point, if the organization is going forward in another direction, he will certainly accept that and move forward graciously," Moorad said. "I discussed [trading Hammonds] informally with Pat Gillick and Kevin Malone, and I would hope it would become an off-season project."
Malone said at this point, Hammonds is still viewed as a part of the Orioles' future.
"We like Jeffrey Hammonds," Malone said. "We think he's a major-league player. If he doesn't factor into our plans, we might make him available. We did not say he doesn't factor into our plans [to Moorad]. We still think there's a chance he could be a regular outfielder for us in 1997."
Hammonds, a lifetime .262 hitter, could not be reached for comment. He hit .226 with a career-high nine homers and 27 RBIs in 71 games this season. He spent about six weeks in Triple-A, and played with the Orioles the two weeks before hurting his knee in Oakland in August.
Hammonds has averaged 65 games a year the past three years, during which he underwent reconstructive surgery on his right knee and sustained neck and shoulder injuries.
Hammonds is eligible for salary arbitration this winter, and Malone said the Orioles plan to tender him a contract offer and enter the arbitration process.
Pub Date: 10/17/96