Orioles probably will take GM search into next week

Angelos: 1 of 7 is likely, but not certain, to get job


November 20, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

Orioles owner Peter Angelos likely will carry the club's general manager search into next week, though an announcement is still expected before Thanksgiving, he said yesterday.

Angelos, who will be at Major League Baseball's owners meetings today in Dallas, has seven candidates to replace vice president of baseball operations Syd Thrift, including former Orioles pitcher, current broadcaster and longtime Angelos consultant Mike Flanagan.

One of those seven candidates probably will get the job, Angelos said.

"It is likely," he said. "But on the other hand, there may be an additional interview later this week."

The Orioles have interviewed Detroit Tigers assistant GM Al Avila, former Montreal Expos GM Jim Beattie, Arizona Diamondbacks assistant GM Sandy Johnson, former Chicago White Sox GM Ron Schueler, Seattle Mariners vice president of scouting and player development Roger Jongewaard and Milwaukee Brewers special assignment scout David Wilder.

In the meantime, Thrift continues to run the baseball operations department.

Tonight, the team must set its 40-man roster, protecting players from the upcoming Rule 5 draft.

In other Orioles news:

The Orioles had interest in trading for Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Felipe Lopez but shied away after hearing Toronto's asking price: a No. 2 or No. 3 starting pitcher. The Blue Jays had high hopes for Lopez last year at this time, when they traded their other top shortstop prospect, Cesar Izturis, to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Scouts thought Lopez, 22, had higher upside because he was a switch-hitter with power. But Lopez struggled last season, batting .227 with eight homers and 34 RBIs, and Chris Woodward took his job. The Blue Jays reportedly were hoping to trade Lopez to the Atlanta Braves for right-handed pitcher Tim Spooneybarger, who wound up going to the Florida Marlins in the Mike Hampton deal.

Free-agent shortstop Mike Bordick has notified the Orioles he'd like to return next season, but the club still hasn't made an offer, and it is exploring other options.

Club officials met with Elliott Vallin, the agent for free-agent shortstop Deivi Cruz, and were told Cruz is looking for a multi-year contract. Cruz made $600,000 last year with the San Diego Padres. Bordick made $5 million.

The Orioles have yet to make an offer to Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui, but their interest may have prompted Matsui to hire an agent. He had been saying he didn't need representation until yesterday.

"There are limits to what I can do," Matsui told reporters in Tokyo. "I'll hire an agent to help me in negotiations and contract details."

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman and other Yankees officials are trying to meet with Matsui in Tokyo later this week. The Orioles have sent Matsui an e-mail, telling him of their interest. So far, most teams have shied away.

Matsui, 28, hit .334 with 50 home runs and 107 RBIs last year for the Yomiuri Giants, winning his third Japanese Central League Most Valuable Player award. He is a left-handed hitter who plays center field, but major-league scouts project him as a corner outfielder.

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