If you can't beat him, sign him.
That evidently was the Orioles' thinking when they added outfielder Dwight Evans for one year. Evans, 39, was their leading tormentor among active players -- and a living nightmare for their bullpen ace, Gregg Olson.
"He's been a nemesis to me throughout my career," said general manager Roland Hemond, who held the same job with the Chicago White Sox from 1980 to '85. "I would look at the batting order a lot of times in the late innings and see if by chance we might miss him. But it always seems you had to face him."
And in most cases, Evans prevailed.
His 31 homers and 136 RBIs against the Orioles are the most of any active player -- "Is that right?" Evans asked. Last season was typical: Evans had three homers and eight RBIs in 10 games, and beat the Orioles almost single-handedly on June 23 at Fenway Park.
That was the game he hit a solo home run off Dave Johnson to tie the score in the eighth inning -- and a two-run shot off Olson to win it 4-3 in the 10th.
Olson has given up only five homers in 170 1/3 career innings.
Evans has hit two of them, and is 3-for-5 off him lifetime.
"Olson ought to be happy," manager Frank Robinson said. "We don't have to worry about him anymore, do we? He can do that damage to other ballclubs now."
"He's a good hitter, but I'm not fretting who comes in the league and who goes out," Olson said shortly before Evans signed. "I'm happy to see George Bell and Fred McGriff go. Dwight Evans -- he's got something on me. I would be happy to see him on my side."
Well, now he's there.
"I've always looked forward to playing at Memorial Stadium," Evans said. "I don't know the dimensions of the new ballpark, but I'm curious. I plan on playing there."
* WHAT ABOUT KITTLE? Evans, a righthanded hitter, will play the outfield and first base and serve as a DH. That could make Ron Kittle expendable, but club president Larry Lucchino said, "There's room on this team for an outfielder like Dwight Evans and Ron Kittle."
The Orioles must exercise the $600,000 option on Kittle's contract by Dec. 15, or buy him out for $100,000. Their decision likely will be based on their trade activity in the next week, but they do not appear close to any deals.
"I don't know what they're going to do with Kittle," Robinson said, referring to the front office. "That's up to them."
Today is the deadline for clubs to offer their free agents salary arbitration, but since Kittle is not a free agent in the usual sense, Hemond said the Orioles are not required to make such a decision.
* AND THE MICK? The Orioles are expected to offer arbitration to free-agent catcher Mickey Tettleton, preserving their right to draft-pick compensation while formalizing their intent to keep him for at least one more year.
Tettleton's agent, Tony Attanasio, repeated yesterday that he is negotiating with only one other club. Attanasio said if the deal collapses, Tettleton would decide immediately whether to accept the Orioles' offer. Technically, he would have until Dec. 19.
* ALLOW HIM TO EXPLAIN: Baltimore attorney and player agent Ron Shapiro called WBAL Radio last night to give his version of the Orioles' approach to free agency.
Shapiro represents lefthander Matt Young, one of two free agents to whom the Orioles extended offers but did not sign. The other was outfielder Franklin Stubbs.
Young signed a three-year, $6.4 million contract with Boston.
Stubbs signed a three-year, $6 million deal with Milwaukee.
"The Orioles went to the meetings with a desire and intention to sign [free agents]," Shapiro said. "What they did was underestimate what was going to happen in the market.
"It's an organization where there's only one level of ownership [Eli Jacobs], then the president [Lucchino] and the general manager [Hemond]. They went with orders, a limited budget. All of a sudden they ran up against their budget, and ultimately lost the ballgame.
"They were without any further authority to move beyond where they were," Shapiro continued. "The market went beyond them. Without having the ultimate owner involved, they just weren't able to pull off the deal."
* WELCOME BACK, PHIL: It looks like free-agent outfielder Phil Bradley isn't heading to Japan after all. Yesterday, his agent, Jim Turner, said, "It appears as though we're about to turn down an incredible sum of money from Japan."
The former Oriole, faced with no major-league offers, reportedly was close to signing a two-year, $3 million contract with the Tokyo Giants. Turner declined to say if clubs were now expressing interest, but it appears Bradley simply did not want to play in Japan.
Bradley was unavailable for comment last night. The Orioles traded him to the Chicago White Sox on July 30 after he labeled the club's one-year, $1.3 million offer with an option "humiliating."