ROSEMONT, ILL., DEC. 4 -- National League Expansion Committee Chairman Douglas Danforth said today that Capital Baseball, the restructured group of investors seeking a franchise for Northern Virginia, remains under consideration for one of the two new franchises that will begin play in 1993.
However, he added "it obviously weakened their position somewhat," when Capital Region Baseball -- the original group seeking a franchise for Northern Virginia -- withdrew. In addition, Danforth said the new group, which is led by Bart Fisher, probably will not be given a chance to make an oral presentation.
"What we may ask them to do is . . . answer any questions we may have" over the telephone, said Danforth, whose committee met here on the fourth day of Major League Baseball's winter meetings, then made a 20-minute progress report during a meeting of all NL owners. "They're not strangers to us and not everything changed."
Fisher was among the investors in the original group, but he was not part of the delegation that made its presentation to the committee. Danforth declined comment on any other expansion candidates, including the Washington area's other group, led by John Akridge.
Danforth did clarify the committee's position concerning the composition of the short list, saying that with the exception of one city the committee will pick one perspective ownership group per city rather than choosing the city itself.
"In one case there may be two groups in one city," he said.
Given Danforth's assessment of the Northern Virginia group, Washington seems unlikely to be that city. Miami and St. Petersburg are the only other cities represented by more than one group. He indicated he will visit St. Petersburg's Suncoast Dome in January, a sign that the city probably will be on the short list.
However, Fisher said there is a chance the two Washington-area groups will merge. "I've had feelers to merge the group and be in Northern Virginia eventually," said Fisher, who declined to identify the source. "I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that there will be one group in Northern Virginia."
Akridge, whose group has a letter of understanding with the D.C. Armory Board for a long-term lease of RFK Stadium, could not be reached for comment.
In other activity today, left-hander Matt Young not only spurned the Baltimore Orioles, he signed with AL East rival Boston.
But the biggest transaction news was about one trade that wasn't made: The Yankees kept second baseman Steve Sax, signing him to a $12.4 million contract through the 1995 season.
Free agent reliever Dave Righetti agreed to a four-year, $10 million contract with the San Francisco Giants.
The Red Sox, whose thin starting pitching staff was weakened further by free agent Mike Boddicker's departure for the Royals, gave Young a three-year deal at $6.35 million.
"We're disappointed," said Orioles General Manager Roland Hemond, whose club was a finalist for Young along with Detroit.
He said he met today with the agents for outfielder-first baseman Franklin Stubbs, outfielder Dwight Evans and outfielder George Bell. As for signing any of those three players, he said, "You always feel like you have a chance." Bell, however, is considered out of the Orioles' price range.
Stubbs's agent, Jim Turner, said he and the Orioles will talk "at length" Wednesday. "They know where I want to be," Turner said. Bell's agent, Alan Hendricks, said the Orioles "have made an effort" but would not say if they had made an offer.
In an effort to prolong his ability to deal, Hemond said he would delay his departure from here another day until Thursday.