DALLAS, DEC. 9 -- In a swap of right-handed pitchers with similar careers and problems, the Baltimore Orioles traded Ken Dixon to Seattle tonight for Mike Morgan.
Dixon, 27, came to the major leagues in 1985 and was supposed to be the Orioles' next great prospect. Instead, he has gone 26-28 in three seasons and, despite an above-average fastball and outstanding curveball, he allowed 64 homers in 307 1/3 innings over the past two seasons. Last season, he was 7-10 with a 6.43 ERA and pitched 105 innings.
Morgan, 28, has pitched 216 and 207 innings the past two seasons and, despite his 23-34 record, the Orioles were desperate for a starter who could pitch more innings. Last season, other than Mike Boddicker's 226 innings, no Orioles pitcher had more than 165 innings.
"I think Dixon will still be an outstanding pitcher in time," Orioles assistant Frank Robinson said. "But we're looking for someone to give us some innings and give the relief pitchers a break."
Oakland's Charles Finley made Morgan the fourth player chosen in the 1978 draft. He debuted in the major leagues that summer at the age of 18. Since then, he has bounced through the Yankees, Blue Jays and Mariners systems, compiling a 33-62 record and a 4.84 ERA.
Yet teams always have been impressed with his ability -- an above-average fastball and decent slider. The Mariners sent him to the Pacific Institute last winter in an attempt to build his confidence, but that lasted only through a couple of bad games. "I think a change of scenery will help both of them," Mariners Manager Dick Williams said.
Dixon took the news in stride, saying, "It's the business of the game. Who knows? Maybe it'll turn out for the best. But I came up in this organization and it'll be a big change. I've always considered myself an Oriole.
"It definitely will give me a chance to get a fresh start. I regret I didn't do the things I should have done. I'm going to try to make the best of it. When it's time to play these guys, maybe I'll be able to show them what they're missing."
He said he wasn't concerned about going to a park in which a lot of home runs are hit, saying of the Kingdome: "I'm not even concerned about that. Home runs are part of the game. Unfortunately, I gave up more than my share. That's due to change, too."
Seconds after the Dixon trade was announced, the Mariners sent outfielder Phil Bradley and young pitcher Tim Fortugno to Philadelphia for outfielders Glenn Wilson and Dave Brundage and pitcher Mike Jackson.
Bradley had asked to be traded and, in Wilson, the Mariners got the run-producer they'd been seeking. Jackson is considered an outstanding prospect. The Orioles had been interested in him and, in a three-team deal that was discussed, would have given up Boddicker to get him.
In an odd twist, the New York Mets will be the home team and the Baltimore Orioles the visiting team for the exhibition that is being negotiated for April 3 at RFK Stadium.
Jim Dalrymple, general manager of RFK, said he wants the Mets to be the home team, "because we're going to be a National League city when expansion comes. We could have an expressway series with the Orioles in a few years, and this could be a start." . . . Chris Delaport of the Maryland Stadium Authority is here to make a pitch to bring the 1993 All-Star Game to Baltimore's new stadium . . . The Orioles signed minor league pitchers Kevin Hickey and Mark Bowden, both left-handers, to Rochester contracts.
Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth repeated that he doesn't believe he'll be rehired for a second term. This term expires after the 1989 season, and Ueberroth told the Dallas Morning News, "If I needed to get reelected right now . . . I wouldn't be able to put that together." . . . Owner Bob Lurie, who has announced he'll move the San Francisco Giants from Candlestick Park, said he'll negotiate only with cities in the region in 1988. Then, if no agreement is reached, listen to cities around the country . . . The Giants also re-signed left-hander Joe Price to a two-year contract.