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Orioles Discussing a Pursuit of Sosa

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 27, 2005; Page D05

BALTIMORE, Jan. 26 -- The Baltimore Orioles are still unlikely to make a serious bid for disgruntled Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa, but they are at least discussing the option, according to one team source.

"You never know," the source said. "It's still something that's ongoing. We've had discussions."

After losing the Carlos Delgado sweepstakes to the Marlins, the Orioles have turned their attention to Sammy Sosa. (John Bazemore - AP)

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The Orioles have not had serious discussions with the Cubs, but in trying to improve the team and appease a displeased fan base, Baltimore has not completely ruled out a trade for the superstar right fielder. In any trade for Sosa, the Cubs would have to pick up a substantial portion of the outfielder's contract. Sosa, 36, is owed $17.5 million in 2005 with an $18 million option for 2006 that can be bought out for $4.5 million. If traded, the option for 2006 automatically triggers and enacts a $19 million option for 2007 that can also be bought out for $4.5 million. Sosa's representatives reportedly have inquired about voiding the option for 2007 to facilitate a trade.

Baltimore still is in the process of determining the best course after losing out on Carlos Delgado to the Florida Marlins. A trade for Tampa Bay infielder Aubrey Huff seems unlikely at this point. The Orioles haven't made an aggressive attempt for New York Mets center fielder Mike Cameron or Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Javier Vazquez.

"I don't know if we can say anything is particularly close," Orioles Executive Vice President Jim Beattie said.

The pursuit of free agent Magglio Ordoñez largely will be determined by the medical data Orioles doctors are supposed to receive by the end of the week. Baltimore wants to be assured Ordoñez is healthy before offering a long-term deal.

"I think it's going to take some time," Beattie said of negotiations with agent Scott Boras.

The Detroit Tigers met with Ordoñez on Monday and appear to be aggressive suitors. Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski declined to comment on the specifics of the meeting but said they have received all the medical information they had requested from Boras. Beattie said the Orioles would be interested in meeting with Ordoñez and watching him work out once they view the medical information.

"We hope to have by the end of this week all the medical information we need," Beattie said. "Then it will be determined by the doctors what the next step will be."


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