A trade that would send veteran pitcher Jim Palmer from Baltimore to another city appears unlikely, Oriole General Manager Hank Peters said yesterday, final day of baseball's winter meetings -- a day on which the Detriot Tigers traded star outfielder Ron LeFlore to Montreal.
LeFlore, who hit .300 and stole 78 bases this year, went to the Expos for young left-handed pitcher Dan Schatzeder in the Tigers' second deal of the day. Third baseman Aurelio Rodriguez, a Tiger since the infamous Denny McLain swap with Washington after the 1970 season, was sent to the San Diego Padres for a player to be named later; the deal contingent on Rodriguez's approval, as a 10-year veteran, the last five on the same club.
LeFlore, who was signed by Detroit in 1973 out of a state prison in Michigan, is a three-time .300 hitter who was second in steals in 1979 after leading the American League with 68 thefts in 1978.
Peters said he and other Oriole officials at the winter meetings in Toronto had talked with all the teams on a list of those to which Palmer said he would accept a trade but came up empty.
The Orioles now will probably try to extend Palmer's contract, which has two years remaining at an estimated $260,000 annually.
Palmer, a three-time Cy Young award winner who led all pitchers of the 1970s in victories, has complained that he is paid too little in Baltimore.
"It does not appear likely anything will be happening," Peters said.
"I would think we might now have an interesting dialogue with Jim after our exploratory week (in Toronto)," Peters continued. "We have never discarded the option of extending his contract. But we wanted to see what kind of prospects might be available by trading him.
"So, now we'll go back with Jim and his agent and see where we stand."
A five-player deal between the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves fell through when the key player, Jeff Burroughs, exercised his contract's no-trade clause and vetoed the move back to his old team.
Immediately after learning that the original Atlanta deal, swung Thursday, was out, the Rangers and the Braves completed a new four-player transaction in which pitcher Doyle Alexander and infielder Larvell Blanks went to the Braves for pitcher Adrian Devine and infielder Pepe Frias.
In literally a last-minute baseball trade, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired outfielder Bobby Bonds from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for pitcher John Denny and outfielder Jerry Mumphrey.
The trade was completed at 11:59 p.m. one minute before the trading deadline.