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O's Reach Deal With Veteran Reliever

Signing Could Lead To More Changes

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 22, 2005; Page D09

BALTIMORE, Jan. 21 -- The Baltimore Orioles have not shown passivity in trying to improve their bullpen. On Friday they completed a deal for right-handed reliever Steve Reed that might signal other changes for the team.

Last season Reed, 39, led the Colorado Rockies with a 3.68 ERA in 65 games. Away from hitter-friendly Coors Field, he had a 2.38 ERA in 34 innings.

Jorge Julio, above, is likely on the way out following the addition of former Rockie Steve Reed, 39. (Chris Gardner -- AP)

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Reed, who signed a one-year, $1.05 million deal with a mutual option for 2006, complements B.J. Ryan and newly signed Steve Kline, most likely pushing Jorge Julio out of Baltimore.

The Orioles are actively shopping the former closer Julio, and rumors persist that the Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Mets may be likely destinations. Any deal involving Julio for Mets outfielder Mike Cameron appears unlikely at this point, as one baseball source said the teams have not engaged in serious conversations.

Orioles Executive Vice President Jim Beattie said that acquiring Reed doesn't necessarily mean they'll trade Julio. But it would be a surprise if Julio began the season with Baltimore.

With Reed, Kline and Ryan, the top three spots in the bullpen are set. It's highly unlikely the Orioles would keep Julio, who is eligible for arbitration and will earn between $2.35 million and $2.9 million, to pitch in the sixth or seventh innings.

The Orioles made no progress in their pursuit of free agent first baseman Carlos Delgado. "We're going to continue to talk," Beattie said. "We're going to stay in touch."

On Friday agent David Sloane, who represents Delgado, met with Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks in Puerto Rico.

"Tom Hicks said that he was going to come to Puerto Rico and give it his best shot and he did all that and more," Sloane said in an e-mail. "We will be talking to them again [Saturday] in an attempt to sustain the positive momentum we generated today."

The Mets, who met with Sloane on Thursday in Puerto Rico, reportedly made a three-year, $33 million offer.

Baltimore has not increased its original offer, made in early December, of three years and $25 million.

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