Angelos' objection pulls Mets deal off table No-trade provision, perceived loss in talent sway owner's decision

Orioles Notebook

May 26, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

SEATTLE -- A deal that would have sent first baseman Rafael Palmeiro and second baseman Roberto Alomar to the New York Mets in return for a three-player package has been taken off the table, at least in part due to the objection of Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos, according to club sources.

The deal was presented for Angelos' authorization last week but failed to gain approval for two reasons -- a perceived loss in talent and the partial no-trade provision in Palmeiro's contract that lists the Mets as one of the clubs he could veto.

Assistant general manager Kevin Malone yesterday described as "inaccurate" speculation that the club is on the cusp of making a deal, but conceded that talks have taken place with "a half-dozen" teams. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies apparently head the list.

Regarding the proposed Mets deal, which would have brought second baseman Carlos Baerga, first baseman John Olerud and reliever Dave Mlicki to Baltimore, Malone said, "That was one of many possibilities discussed. For whatever reason, this one got out."

Malone refuted reports that the club is impatient to complete a deal for a left-handed hitter and insisted there is no movement afoot to purge either Palmeiro or Alomar, both of whom are pending free agents.

"We've talked about all of our players who can be traded at one point or another," said Malone. "That's what we do."

When asked Sunday if the club thought a deal likely within the next week, another club official asserted, "Bet against it."

Palmeiro last winter restructured the no-trade provision of his five-year contract to block deals to likely suitors such as the Mets, Dodgers and Boston Red Sox. Palmeiro's agent, Jim Bronner, said he last spoke with Angelos three weeks ago in Baltimore but has yet to receive an extension proposal.

"I'd like to hear something, one way or another," Palmeiro said before last night's 12-4 loss. "Right now I don't know. All I can do is go out and play."

Because his contract does not include no-trade privileges, Alomar remains a more attractive trade candidate. The Indians remain a particularly attractive landing spot because of Alomar's known desire to play alongside brother Sandy, the Indians catcher. The Indians may dangle outfielder Brian Giles, a left-handed-hitting outfielder, and reliever Jose Mesa. The Mets also may introduce switch-hitting catcher Todd Hundley into trade talks. Hundley is recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery.

Key exam delayed

The Orioles officially placed Jimmy Key on the disabled list yesterday, retroactive to Thursday. However, Key will wait until today to undergo an arthrogram to determine the cause of persistent stiffness in the front of his left shoulder.

Team orthopedic physician Michael Jacobs is scheduled to perform the procedure. Though Key returned to Baltimore on Sunday night, the Memorial Day holiday apparently complicated scheduling. The Orioles recalled Nerio Rodriguez from Triple-A Rochester to take Key's place on the roster.

Had Rodriguez not arrived for last night's start -- he walked into the visitors clubhouse at 3: 38 p.m. -- manager Ray Miller was prepared to start Bobby Munoz and might also have taken the extreme measure of ordering reliever Armando Benitez to appeal his eight-game suspension.

Rehab stint for Mathews

The Orioles intend to send reliever Terry Mathews on a rehab assignment shortly after the club returns home Thursday.

Mathews, on the DL retroactive to April 30, will make two or three starts at either Double-A Bowie or Single-A Frederick and will likely pitch a simulated game at Camden Yards.

Mathews, who allowed a grand slam in his last appearance April 29, has been working to regain strength in his right wrist, which required a cortisone injection. The condition had degenerated since last August, according to Mathews.

"I can throw 100 percent of what I can throw," insisted Mathews. "I have no clue whether I can throw at 100 percent velocity, but that's what we're going to find out the next couple weeks. At least I'm able to extend [the wrist] and throw everything I want to throw."

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