Baltimore Orioles right fielder Albert Belle told one of his former managers last month that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause if the Orioles wished to trade him.
"We were talking in the outfield, and he told me he had agreed to void" the no-trade clause, Chicago White Sox Manager Jerry Manuel told reporters today in Milwaukee. Manuel managed Belle last year in Chicago.
Orioles General Manager Frank Wren declined to comment on Manuel's assertion, calling Belle's contract "an internal matter." However, a team source confirmed that Belle has indicated he would consider waiving the no-trade clause.
Manuel recounted a conversation he had with Belle when the Orioles played the White Sox in Chicago on June 17-20. That was less than two weeks after Belle's public shouting match with Orioles Manager Ray Miller in Florida.
"He told me that after that [Florida] incident, he told them they could do something if they wanted," Manuel said.
Under the terms of the five-year, $65 million contract Belle signed this winter, he can veto any trade during the first three years of the contract.
Manuel theorized that Belle's ulterior motive may have been to try to return to the White Sox, where he spent two seasons. "I'm sure that's why he was telling me that," Manuel said.
Belle has not spoken to the media covering the Orioles since spring training. However, on Sunday he posted a sign in front of his locker, apparently in response to speculation about his no-trade clause, reading: " 1/2 year down, 4 1/2 years to go so don't fight it and show me some love!!! AB."
CAPTION: A run-in in June with Manager Ray Miller, right, may have prompted Albert Belle to consider voiding no-trade clause.