A full day of meetings with player agents and executives from other teams failed to produce any more deals for the Baltimore Orioles today. But on Day Two of baseball's winter meetings, the Orioles made progress toward addressing their needs.
At the top of the Orioles' wish list is a starting pitcher, and director of player personnel Syd Thrift said the Orioles are actively pursuing the prized catch of a relatively weak group of free agents, Anaheim Angels left-hander Chuck Finley.
"We've had constant conversations" with Tim Shannon, Finley's agent, Thrift said. Finley, 37, wants a three-year deal for nearly $30 million.
Thrift also met for some 90 minutes today with agent Scott Boras, who represents four free-agent pitchers--right-handers Andy Benes and Omar Olivares, and left-handers Darren Oliver and Kenny Rogers. Each is looking for long-term deals worth $20 million or more.
In addition, the Orioles met with the agent for free agent right-hander Hideo Nomo, who turned down a two-year, $8.15 million offer from the Milwaukee Brewers in October.
Thrift said the Orioles have discussed trading for a starting pitcher, but have all but abandoned the strategy because "everybody wants one of our top two or three prospects," including left-hander Matt Riley and catcher Jayson Werth.
Still, the Orioles met today with representatives of the Cleveland Indians, who have long coveted Orioles right-hander Scott Erickson. But Thrift said, "If we trade a pitcher, it would only be for a possible upgrade" in pitching.
In other business, the Orioles continue to negotiate with free agent catcher Greg Myers, whom the Orioles would like to sign to back up Charles Johnson.
As for Johnson, the Orioles discussed his contract status during their meeting with Boras, his representative. Johnson will be a free agent after the 2000 season.
The Orioles also met tonight with the New York Mets, who are seeking a left-handed hitting first baseman and are believed to have some interest in Will Clark. If so, that would make the Orioles' expected signing of Jeff Conine more important. Thrift said he hoped to have a deal with Conine finalized within a few days.
Orioles Note: The team lost one of their top scouts when Don Welke accepted a job with the Dodgers.