The pending collective bargaining agreement in baseball could have a negative effect on the Orioles' bullpen next season.
Left-handed setup man Jesse Orosco has solidified the Orioles' relief corps the last two seasons, and the team has made no secret of its desire to bring the 39-year-old reliever back next year.
But according to Orosco's agent, Alan Meersand, the Orioles might have some competition for the veteran if a new collective bargaining agreement is signed.
Meersand said under the proposed CBA, the Orioles would lose their repeater rights to Orosco, making him a free agent eligible to negotiate with any team.
Meersand said the Orioles made their final offer yesterday, which the agent agreed on before submitting it to Orosco.
Orosco, who made a base salary of $500,000 last year, spoke with Meersand six times by phone yesterday afternoon to discuss the ramifications of a new CBA.
After learning of his possible free-agent status, Orosco decided not to agree to the Orioles' offer.
The contract for one year plus an option -- with a buyout clause -- has a base salary in the $700,000 range, Meersand said.
Orosco, born and raised in California, said he has no problem with the finances of the deal, but would like to play on the West Coast if possible.
Speaking from his San Diego home, Orosco said he also was disappointed in the pace of the negotiations -- the sides have been talking for about a week -- and what Meersand perceives as the Orioles' backtracking stance on some of the specifics of the contract.
"I'm taking my time on this decision," said Orosco, who was 3-1 with a 3.40 ERA in 66 games -- the most by an Orioles pitcher -- this past season. "For the last 20 years, I've always been on the road and it would be nice to play out here and be with my three kids.
"I haven't made that much money in my entire career, I don't think I'm going to hit the pot of gold at age 40. But I might as well test the waters. The situation could be pretty good for me."
The San Diego Padres expressed interest in Orosco during the regular season, and Meersand said he believes at least six teams would covet Orosco's services.
"This is probably Jesse's last chance to be a free agent, and he's always wanted a chance to play on the West Coast," Meersand said.
"We're not going to ask the Orioles for any more money, we're not going to ask them to change anything in the terms.
"We have pretty much finalized everything. This is something he wants to look into. He wants to check out all of his options and wait it out."
Pub Date: 10/26/96