Ups and downs

July 18, 1999|By Joe Strauss

Peter's Diner -- UP -- Majority owner Peter Angelos receives high marks for customer service after inviting disgruntled bleacherites into his luxury box for dinner. But if everyone who has been flipped off by Albert Belle deserves free eats, Angelos had better open a fourth-floor cafeteria.

The Untouchables -- UP -- Cal Ripken, B. J. Surhoff, Charles Johnson, Jason Johnson, Mike Mussina and Sidney Ponson are not to be included in trade discussions. Belle, Brady Anderson and Scott Erickson, all of whom enjoy at least partial no-trade status within their contracts, are available for offers.

Juan Guzman -- UP -- About as appreciated as a three-day migraine in April, Guzman has rehabilitated his record and trade value as a dependable six-inning pitcher the past 10 weeks. Let's hope he speaks fluent Texan.

Lenny Webster -- DOWN -- The Orioles kept him in purgatory for two months since he suffered an ankle injury May 12. GM Frank Wren couldn't swing a trade with the catching-poor Pittsburgh Pirates last week and instead designated Webster for assignment. An understated contributor in '97 and '98, Webster deserves better.

Tony La Russa -- UP -- Angelos apparently covets him as Ray Miller's successor. Meanwhile, La Russa is stiff-arming efforts by the St. Louis Cardinals to extend his contract beyond this season. Orioles minority owner George Will is a huge supporter -- just read "Men At Work" -- and Angelos loves the idea of a manager able to take control of the clubhouse.

Frank Wren -- EVEN -- His trades (Charles Johnson, Jason Johnson, Jeff Conine) have been positives. Now under the gun to make significant moves the next two weeks, he must lobby Angelos to act quickly while trying to get value for several pending free agents. Good luck.

Pub Date: 7/18/99

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