Hemond signs 2-year extension Orioles demonstrate faith despite poor standings


Baltimore Orioles general manager Roland Hemond has taken some criticism for the club's poor standing this year, but his employers apparently feel he has made enough of the right moves to warrant a little job security.

The Orioles will announce today that Hemond has signed a two-year contract extension, which guarantees his place in the front office through the 1993 season, a club official said yesterday.

Hemond's contract was to expire at the end of this year and there had been some speculation that his job might be in danger if the club failed to perform up to expectations. But the club official said yesterday that negotiations on a contract ex

tension have been concluded successfully.

"We will be making an announcement tomorrow concerning a front-office move," said club president Larry Lucchino, "but it is our policy not to discuss in-house negotiations."

Hemond, however, confirmed that an extension had been offered and accepted. It will be the third two-year contract he has signed with the club since taking over as GM after the 1987 season.

"I've very happy that Mr. [Eli] Jacobs, Larry and Sargent Shriver have continued to have confidence and support for me," Hemond said. "I've been very happy here since I arrived. I'm very proud to be an Oriole. I'm just pleased that I'll continue to be part of this organization and will get the opportunity to have some more winning years."

Hemond began his Orioles career with the record 21-game losing streak at the start of the 1988 season, but the club came right back to turn the experts on their ears with the "Why not?" division challenge in 1989.

Since then, the club has had trouble meeting the expectations that grew out of that surprising turnaround. The club finished fifth in 1990 and stands at the bottom of the American League East after 55 games of the 1991 campaign.

The Orioles were expected to be much improved this year. The club signed Dwight Evans as a free agent and traded a large chunk of its youth movement to acquire power-hitting first baseman Glenn Davis. But the Orioles entered last night's game 14 games under .500.

The club has been in turmoil since the beginning of the season. Davis suffered a serious neck injury in spring training, and the team has had to endure of string of lesser injuries that has touched almost every player on the roster.

It eventually touched former manager Frank Robinson, who was fired three weeks ago and later agreed to a position as an assistant general manager. Hemond was the point man on that decision.

The latest bombshell fell last week, when Jacobs announced that he was considering the sale of the club, a revelation that had to send a shiver through the entire front office.

But Hemond's contract extension appears to be a sign that the club is continuing to conduct front-office business in the usual manner.

"I think it's an indication that we are continuing to approach things in the same aggressive way," Hemond said. "We're marching forward day by day and trying to get the job done. This is very gratifying. It's an indication of the type of people we're working for."

The move figures to calm any speculation involving Robinson and player personnel director Doug Melvin, who are considered potential Hemond successors.

Robinson's front-office position should allow him to prepare for a future GM role, but Melvin has long been recognized as the Orioles general-manager-in-waiting. Now, it will be close to three years before the team has to make any decision concerning the future of either man.

Both figure to be on the candidate lists of other clubs. GM positions are open in the two expansion cities -- Miami and Denver -- and there probably will be some other openings in the next two seasons.

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