Baltimore Orioles officials had little time to puff their chests about Thursday's long-awaited trade for slugger Glenn Davis. There were a few rounds of self-congratulations in the team's offices yesterday, but mostly it was back to work on the offseason's most pressing remaining tasks: how to sign Davis to a multiyear contract and what to do with catcher Mickey Tettleton.

There is a degree of urgency to both situations. Players must apply for salary arbitration by Tuesday, and Davis's and Tettleton's 1991 pay will be determined by an arbitrator if the Orioles can't negotiate a deal before the assigned hearing date. The difference, however, is that the club is seeking to sign Davis eventually to a four- or five-year pact, while it now seems intent upon trading Tettleton if it can. The Orioles also have agreed to a one-year contract with left-handed reliever Kevin Hickey (1-3, 5.13 ERA); he will earn $250,000, the same salary as 1990.

A Tigers official yesterday confirmed reports that the Orioles are discussing a deal that would send Tettleton to Detroit for pitcher Jeff Robinson. "There's nothing set yet," he said. "It's still kind of up in the air."

Robinson was 10-9 with a 5.96 ERA last season, but in 1988 he was 13-6 and one of the American League's most reliable starters. The Tigers are seeking catching help, with Mike Heath having been declared a new-look free agent. Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson reportedly has confirmed Detroit's interest in Tettleton, who hit .223 with 15 home runs, 51 RBI and 160 strikeouts last season.

Agent Tony Attanasio has said that he believes Tettleton will be traded. Baltimore General Manager Roland Hemond yesterday revealed only that he has "had some talks" with the Tigers and that his offseason maneuvering might not be finished. "You always find yourself tinkering," he said. "We have achieved the brunt of what we set out to do, but you never say that you're done in this business."

Still, Davis remained the Orioles' favorite topic of conversation. They spent five weeks of uneven, often-frustrating trade talks with the Houston Astros trying to land their first true power hitter since Eddie Murray departed in 1988, and they weren't about to let the reveling cease so quickly.

"Everyone's excited," Hemond said. "You could feel that electricity {Thursday}, like everyone knew we were doing something good. You walk around the office and everyone's smiling. . . . It's hard not to be excited. This could be something big."

On Thursday, Hemond compared the deal to the Orioles' 1965 trade for Frank Robinson, and yesterday he equated it to his 1971 acquisition of Dick Allen while he was with the Chicago White Sox. "I just hope it turns out as well," Hemond said, remembering that Allen was named the AL's Most Valuable Player the following season.

The Orioles believe Davis, who averaged nearly 29 homers per season the past five years, has the same capability. The 29-year-old will split time between first base and designated hitter, and he will bat fourth in a lineup that the Orioles believe will be their most potent in many years. "I think we'll be able to score runs with just about anyone," Manager Robinson said. "Davis will help the guys around him -- Cal Ripken, Randy Milligan, Dwight Evans -- immeasurably."

The price the Orioles paid for Davis in young players -- pitchers Pete Harnisch and Curt Schilling and outfielder Steve Finley -- was relatively modest considering that a few weeks ago they appeared ready to make the trade for that trio plus reliever Mark Williamson. Wednesday evening, the Astros seemed inclined toward trading Davis to the California Angels for a package that included Wally Joyner, but changed their minds that night.

Now the Orioles' attention turns toward contract talks with Davis, who reportedly was seeking a package worth about $4 million a year from the Astros. Davis and his agent, Bob Fraley, will be in Baltimore on Monday, and the Orioles might try to sign their new acquisition to a one-year contract (to avoid arbitration) before beginning work on an extension. Davis earned $1.985 million last year, and his salary nearly scared the Orioles away.

Davis seemed excited Thursday about joining the Orioles, and the team likely will be able to sign him. Davis was raised by the parents of former Orioles pitcher Storm Davis (adopting the family name). "Storm has had only good things to say" about Baltimore, said Davis, who was drafted by the Orioles out of high school in 1979.

Meanwhile, the Orioles also must struggle to decide whether Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer's comeback bid carries enough credibility to warrant a telephone call from his longtime team. Palmer, 45, says he's waiting to hear from major league clubs, and Hemond said yesterday: "He's always in such good shape, he looks like he should still be pitching. . . . Jim's trying to get in shape. If and when he tells us he's in pitching shape, then we'll have to make a decision about what we think about this."