O's zero in on righty hitter, Boskie Vaughn appears best bet, though no meeting is set

December 15, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

The Orioles are expanding their hunt for a right-handed power hitter and are homing in on a pitcher.

Assistant general manager Kevin Malone confirmed that the team has been speaking with the representative for free-agent outfielder Greg Vaughn, and said infielders Julio Franco and Kevin Seitzer could be candidates, too, should they become available.

Malone said the Orioles also are continuing talks with starter/long reliever Shawn Boskie, and it appears a deal could be done soon.

Vaughn hit 41 home runs last year for the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres and would like to return to the American League. Malone said the team has no plans to meet with Vaughn yet.

Vaughn's representative said the outfielder is looking for a long-term deal. He is expected to draw offers for as much as $5 million a year.

"A lot of teams would like to sign Greg, but he doesn't want to sign with a lot of those teams," said Eric Goldschmidt, Vaughn's agent. "I thought all along the Orioles and the Indians would be a good fit, and I still have a feeling he might end up signing with one of them."

Goldschmidt said Vaughn prefers to play left field, but would not mind being used as a designated hitter occasionally.

"We think [Vaughn] has the offensive power we're looking for for our lineup," Malone said. "We'll give him some strong consideration."

A pair of Cleveland Indians, Franco and Seitzer, would fit the Orioles' needs at DH as well.

The Orioles and Indians both said they have not talked about a trade for either player, but it is very likely Cleveland will part with one of the right-handed hitters.

"Of the two guys, we understand one will become available," Malone said. "If either of them becomes available, I think we'd have interest."

Sources indicate the Orioles are considering free agent Danny Tartabull and Cecil Fielder, who is requesting a trade from the New York Yankees, as well.

The Orioles' interest in Shane Mack had been waning (they did not view him as an everyday player), and he signed a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox yesterday.

Malone said the team still has some interest in outfielder Darryl Hamilton. However, they have not spoken with his agent lately, and the prospects of his becoming an Oriole are declining.

"There's nothing going on with Baltimore," said John Hamilton, agent and brother of the outfielder. "We've got to move on. I've been a patient man, but we've got to move on."

Hamilton said he nearly reached a deal with San Francisco last week and continues to talk with the Giants, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers.

Malone said Eddie Murray remains a possibility, too, although he is not a front-runner.

"We're trying to see how good a fit he would be," Malone said of the veteran switch-hitter, who finished last season with the Orioles.

Boskie, 29, appears to be the last element of the Orioles' rotation. The right-hander pitched well against the Orioles last year when he was with the California (now Anaheim) Angels, and finished with a 12-11 record and 5.32 ERA.

"We've been talking with Boskie," Malone said. "We're trying to come closer. Both sides think it's a good fit for each other."

Pub Date: 12/15/96

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