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Benson Pondering Future in Baltimore

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 30, 2006 8:53 PM

BALTIMORE ¿ Orioles pitcher Kris Benson will likely decide this week whether he will ask the Orioles to trade him, as is his right as a veteran traded in the middle of a multi-year contract, according to agent Gregg Clifton.

"He's thinking about it," Clifton said. "If I was a betting man, I would say he won't" ask for a trade.

Clifton said Benson wants to make sure the Orioles are committed to fielding a winning team. Benson, a free agent after the season, would be open to contract extension, but wouldn't use that as a factor of whether he asks for a trade, Clifton said. .....

The Orioles, according to the source, have also had initial conversations with the New York Yankees about outfielder Gary Sheffield, though no serious discussions have taken place. The Orioles have an interest in several outfielders including free agents Cliff Floyd and Carlos Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies' Pat Burrell. But, according to a source close to Burrell, the outfielder won't waive his no-trade clause to play for the Orioles because he would prefer to play for a contending team. Floyd, who recently had surgery to repair his left Achilles' tendon, has a serious interest in playing for the Orioles, according to agent Seth Levinson. .....

Sometime this week the Orioles will announce the hiring of Juan Samuel and Sammy Mejia to their coaching staff. Samuel, the former Phillies great, will be the third base coach, and Mejia will coach at first. Tom Trebelhorn becomes the bench coach with Rick Dempsey becoming the bullpen coach. Former Class AAA Ottawa manager Dave Trembley will be hired as a major league field coordinator. Pitching coach Leo Mazzone and hitting coach Terry Crowley will retain their positions. .....

The Orioles source said pitcher Rodrigo Lopez will certainly be tendered a contract and would remain with the team barring a trade. Lopez, who was a dismal 9-18 with a 5.90 ERA, is eligible for arbitration.

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