Orioles trade Gallagher for minor-league pitchers


ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The Baltimore Orioles completed their first -- and probably last -- deal of the winter meetings yesterday, sending reserve center fielder Dave Gallagher to the California Angels for minor-league pitching prospects David Martinez and Mike Hook.

It was not a major transaction, but it filled a need for the Angels and left the Orioles with added pitching depth at the minor-league level. In short, it was a trade that couldn't have hurt either club.

Gallagher was picked off the waiver list by the Orioles in early August. The club got him for almost nothing and got almost nothing from him, but only because there was not enough playing time to go around. The Angels were looking for a solid reserve outfielder and were happy to get major-league player for a minor-league price.

Martinez was a member of the Angels' 40-man roster, but did not pitch in the major leagues last year. The Orioles added him to their major-league roster and will invite him to spring training, but he is not a serious candidate for the big-league club.

Hook pitched very well at Class A Quad City (6-3, 1.89 ERA) and had the best strikeout ratio in professional ball (14.6 every nine innings), but wouldn't have been included in the deal if the Angels thought he would ever do that at the major-league level. No doubt, the Orioles hope the Angels are wrong on that count.

"We were pleased to get the two of them," said general manager Roland Hemond. "Our scout, Ray Crone, has seen Martinez the past two years and we were impressed with the progress he made from one year to the next. Hook is a left-hander with a very live arm."

In an immediate sense, the deal probably was more beneficial to the Angels, who needed outfield depth to justify their continued effort to trade right fielder Dante Bichette. He is very available, but an Angels source said the Orioles were unwilling to offer a quality major-league pitcher in exchange.

There is speculation that efforts to trade Bichette have focused on the Seattle Mariners, but that club apparently is not making him a top priority.

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