The California Angels are offering third baseman Gary Gaetti, 32, a four-year deal worth $10 million to $12 million.

One of 15 players granted free agency in the collusion settlement, he has a lifetime .256 average, has 201 home runs and is a two-time all-star and four-time Gold Glove winner. He hit a career-low .229 for the Minnesota Twins last year, but he had 16 homers and 85 RBI. The Angels' third baseman, Jack Howell, totaled 85 RBI in 1989-90.

The Angels released veteran second baseman Johnny Ray, 34, who signed for two years with the Yakult Swallows in Japan. . . .

The Orioles retained catcher Bob Melvin, 29, by giving him a two-year contract. In 93 games last year, he hit .243 with five home runs and 37 RBI and only one error. He hit .356 in day games, best on the team. . . .

The Pirates paid the price to keep Don Slaught, 32, as their right-handed hitting catcher: about $3 million over three years. He'll earn $150,000 more a season than the NL's MVP, Barry Bonds, made last season.

"How long ago was it that only the greatest players earned $1 million," Slaught mused. "I remember asking George Brett, 'What's your paycheck like? What do you buy, a condo every two weeks?' "

Slaught hit .300 with 29 RBI in 84 games while platooning with Mike LaValliere. . . .

The Atlanta Braves retained Charlie Leibrandt, 34, by giving him $8 million over three years. He was 9-11 with a 3.16 ERA last season.

The White Sox failed to land Bob Welch or Danny Darwin but did sign knuckleballer Charlie Hough, 42, for a year at $800,000, plus a $10,000 buyout price for 1992. He was 12-12 with a 4.07 ERA for the Texas Rangers last season and in his 18 seasons in the majors is 186-169 with a 3.63 ERA. He is the only major leaguer to win 10 or more games in each of the last nine years. In those years, only four pitchers have bettered his 133 victories.