Carter traded for young Blood Minor-league pitcher acquired from Giants

July 24, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

Suddenly flush with outfielders, the Orioles made the first move of a potentially hectic week last night when they traded right fielder Joe Carter to the San Francisco Giants for minor-league pitcher Darin Blood.

The move, announced immediately after last night's 9-7 win over the Oakland Athletics, was not intended to help this year's belated postseason run, but to be a contribution to the club's near future.

Blood, 24 next month, has been pitching at Triple-A Fresno and is a previous 17-game winner. Orioles assistant general manager Kevin Malone and Giants general manager Brian Sabean closed the deal.

An announcement of the trade was postponed until after last night's game because manager Ray Miller did not want to remove Carter. Sabean consented to the condition.

"You kind of knew something was going to happen because we've got a lot of players who needed playing time," Carter said.

Carter scored the winning run last night, walked into the clubhouse and was called into Miller's office for a meeting with general manager Pat Gillick and Malone.

"I like to finish things I start. It's tough right now to be leaving Baltimore. I just wish I could have done a lot better than what I did," said Carter, who leaves hitting .247, with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs.

Blood was 4-5 with a 4.66 ERA in 19 starts for Fresno. He was the 1996 Single-A California League Pitcher of the Year after going 17-6 for San Jose.

Carter signed a one-year, $3.3 million contract last year and envisioned himself as an every-day contributor, either as designated hitter or in left field.

However, he never chipped away at B. J. Surhoff's role in left field and only shared the DH role with left-handed hitter Harold Baines.

As a result, he never became a consistent force. Carter's 11 home runs were with the bases empty. Stationed in right field, he never became comfortable in the new position.

The juggling of Carter, Baines, Eric Davis and Jeffrey Hammonds never became an easy thing. Carter thrives on at-bats. With the Orioles, they came in clusters and never for extended periods.

Talks between the clubs had gone on for weeks. The Orioles initially focused on reliever Steve Reed, who was, instead, dealt earlier in the evening to the Cleveland Indians. When the Orioles tried to expand the Carter deal, the Giants balked. Fearing the loss of a premier prospect, Malone and Gillick finally agreed.

The Orioles say they aren't through. They continue to talk with numerous clubs, including the Montreal Expos, Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks about additional pitching help while waiting for the return of Scott Kamieniecki and Jimmy Key. Nothing is considered imminent.

"Our situation is that we've got a long way to go to get back in the race, and we feel we're headed that way," Gillick said. "But at the same time, if we feel we can pick up somebody along the way who can help us in the future, then we're going to do that. We feel that Darin Blood is that guy."

The Orioles intend to leave Davis and Baines at designated hitter. Outfielder Lyle Mouton was promoted from Triple-A Rochester.

Pub Date: 7/24/98

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