BALTIMORE, DEC. 10 -- The newest-but-oldest Baltimore Oriole was in town today. Dwight Evans spent an afternoon at Memorial Stadium meeting a few teammates and pledging his 39-year-old legs and formerly sore back to 40 or 50 games in right field.

Orioles officials, meanwhile, were proclaiming that their offseason maneuvering is not finished, despite a frustrating week at the just-completed winter meetings, where the trades they wanted to make fell apart and the free agents they coveted most -- Franklin Stubbs and Matt Young -- signed elsewhere.

"You don't stop because the winter meetings are over," General Manager Roland Hemond said after a news conference in which Evans officially was introduced. The signing of free agent Evans "helped, but that doesn't mean we're done by any means. . . . You stay upbeat on these things and you keep working because you never know when or how something might happen."

Despite the Orioles' considerable efforts, though, all that their offseason has yielded thus far is Evans, who was signed Thursday to a one-year contract (loaded with incentives and worth up to $1.3 million) after the Boston Red Sox chose not to exercise an option year on him.

In Evans, Baltimore is getting a veteran of 18 major league seasons -- all with the Red Sox -- who leads active players in games, runs and home runs (tied with Eddie Murray) and is fifth in hits and RBI. Hemond described him as a "consummate professional" and a future Hall of Famer, and the Orioles' players already seem endeared to the idea of having him in their lineup.

"He's a guy you want on your team," first baseman Randy Milligan said. "From what I've been told, he's a vocal leader in the clubhouse, the kind of guy who lets his opinion be known. We need that. And he's also the kind of guy you want up there with the game on the line, because you know that most likely he's going to come through."

But the Orioles also are getting something of a question mark. A bone spur in Evans's lower back limited him to designated hitter-only duty last season, in which his 13 home runs ended a nine-year string of 20 or more and his 63 RBI were a seven-year low.

The Red Sox said they believed Evans no longer could be an everyday player, and the interest in him as a free agent was lukewarm.

But he insisted his back is fine, citing an August-to-October stretch run last season in which he hit .306 over 24 games and an American League playoff for which he shagged fly balls in case he was needed in the outfield. He said Memorial Stadium's right field is a fairly easy one to play, and he contended that his quick release, accuracy and savvy will make up for the loss in strength from what once was the most revered outfield arm in baseball.

"What is an everyday player today, anyway?" he asked. "Someone who plays 140 games? Yes, I think I can do that. . . . {Orioles Manager} Frank Robinson asked me if I can play 40 or 50 games in the field, and I said I can. It's hard to just DH."

The Orioles apparently foresee him as a regular DH against left-handed pitchers, a part-time outfielder and a spot-duty first baseman. Evans said the Orioles wanted to add an option year to the end of the one-year deal he signed, but he preferred to take matters a season at a time.

"I don't know how much longer I can play," he said. "I'll play for as long as I can contribute. Right now, I know I can contribute for at least one more year."

The Orioles' next decision concerns first baseman-DH Ron Kittle, and the signing of Evans would not seem to bode well for Kittle's future in Baltimore. The Orioles must decide by Saturday whether to pick up their option for 1991 on his contract. Some team officials said privately that the club likely would exercise its option and try to trade Kittle, but Hemond indicated that a decision probably would not be made until the last possible minute.

Catcher Mickey Tettleton might accept salary arbitration and return to the Orioles with a one-year contract. And trade rumblings are circling around third baseman Craig Worthington -- including a possible scenario in which he could go to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Dwight Smith; one Orioles official said the team might trade Worthington and pursue new-look free agent Gary Gaetti.