-- The Baltimore Orioles failed to reach a contractual agreement with shortstop Mike Bordick by tonight's midnight deadline and said they would not offer him salary arbitration.

The move makes Bordick, 37, a free agent and because he can not re-sign with the Orioles until May 1, it almost certainly ends his career with the team.

Bordick finished last season with 110 consecutive games without an error and 543 consecutive errorless chances, both major league records for a shortstop. He committed only one error while compiling a .998 fielding percentage.

He earned $5 million last season while batting .232 with 8 homers and 36 RBI in 117 games, missing 30 games while on the disabled list with a hairline fracture of his right kneecap.

The Orioles' new front office tandem of Jim Beattie (executive vice president of baseball operations) and Mike Flanagan (vice president of baseball operations) was introduced just last Wednesday. One of their top priorities was negotiating with Bordick.

Bordick's records were among the few bright spots in what was one of the most demoralizing seasons in Orioles history. The team lost 32 of its final 36 games to finish in fourth place in the AL East for a fifth straight season, while its top three minor league affiliates finished a combined 109 games under .500.

The publication Baseball America recently gave the Orioles grades of "F" in the categories of major league talent, minor league talent, management and overall direction.

Shortstop Mike Bordick set major league records for consecutive games without an error and consecutive errorless chances.