Third baseman Carney Lansford, the 1981 American League batting champion, was dealt by the Boston Red Sox to the Oakland A's for outfielder Tony Armas in a five-player transaction yesterday that opened the trading market at the baseball meetings.
The Red Sox also received catcher-first baseman Jeff Newman; Oakland obtained outfielder Garry Hancock and a player to be named, presumably an important one what with the A's breaking up their vaunted Armas-Rickey Henderson-Dwayne Murphy outfield.
Lansford hit .301 in 1982 and .336 in strike-shortened 1981. Armas hit 28 home runs in '82 after tying for the AL lead with 22 in '81 and hitting 35 with 109 RBI in '80.
Other possible deals found Bill Bergesch, the New York Yankees' chief of baseball operations, talking with Kansas City about George Brett, 29, the Royals' left-handed hitting star. George Steinbrenner, the Yankees' free-spending owner, is due here Tuesday. It is known the Royals are seeking a top-line pitcher such as left-hander Ron Guidry, plus an infielder.
Left-handed pitcher Bob McClure took himself out of the free-agent market by signing a multiyear, guaranteed contract to remain with the American League champion Milwaukee Brewers, for whom he was 12-7 in 1982 with a playoff victory and two World Series saves. Still on were the multiteam sweepstakes involving Steve Garvey and Floyd Bannister.
Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, in his last year as baseball's chief executive, opened the meetings by reporting that the sport had lost more than $25 million in strike-afflicted 1981 and outlining six "commandments" to protect the game, which set attendance records in 1982.
Kuhn, voted out of office Nov. 1 effective Aug. 13, 1983, listed the need to protect the game's integrity, to maintain baseball as a family game, to keep the present playing rules intact, to improve relations between players and owners, to maintain a high quality of ownership and to restructure baseball's administrative processes and offices.
In the draft of minor leaguers unprotected by any team's 40-man roster, nine were chosen at $25,000 each:
By Cincinnati, C Dan Bilardello (Albuquerque); by Minnesota, LHP Paul Gibson (Evansville); by Texas, RHP Odell Jones (Portland); by Oakland, SS Luis Quinones (Hawaii); by Toronto, P James Acker (Richmond); by Kansas City, former Seattle OF Joe Simpson (Salt Lake City); by St. Louis, P Kurt Kepshire (Indianapolis); by Oakland, SS-3B German Rivera (Albuquerque), and by Toronto, P Mercedes Esquer (Portland).