The agent for free-agent outfielder Harold Baines confirmed yesterday that his client is very interested in playing for the Orioles next season, but it remains to be seen if the club will make a serious attempt to sign him.
Agent Jack Sands has been in contact with general manager Roland Hemond and club president Larry Lucchino, who have expressed an interest in adding a left-handed power hitter, but several factors could affect the way the roster eventually is configured.
"It is no secret that Harold would love to play for the Orioles," Sands said from his Boston office. "I've expressed that to Roland and Larry. But it's somewhat complex because of the first base/DH situation."
Baines, who was born in Easton and still lives in St. Michaels, played occasionally in the outfield with Oakland last year, though a history of knee problems has pigeonholed him as a DH. The Orioles are expected to use Glenn Davis as the full-time DH if he cannot play at first, so his condition could be a complicating factor.
Winfield is a possibility
The Orioles have shown some interest in free-agent outfielder Dave Winfield, but the discussions apparently have not progressed beyond the feeling-out stage.
"They have shown interest in Dave and Dave has shown interest in them," agent Jeff Klein said. "I don't know yet if we have any common ground."
Winfield has drawn interest from a number of clubs following a season in which he hit 26 home runs and had 108 RBI for the World Series champion Toronto.
Lopes still waiting
Orioles coach Davey Lopes still is waiting for word on the San Francisco Giants' managerial hire. He interviewed with Giants general manager Bob Quinn at the winter meetings, but doesn't expect to hear anything until next week.
"He indicated to me that they wouldn't be announcing anything for 10 days to two weeks," Lopes said. "I thought the interview went extremely well, but I still think that Dusty [Baker] is the leading candidate."
Shapiro on Bill Ripken
Agent Ron Shapiro said yesterday that he would not talk to other clubs about second baseman Bill Ripken until the waiver period expires tomorrow.
"We will wait to see if anyone claims him," Shapiro said. "It would not be to our advantage to talk to anyone before then."
Shapiro on Orsulak
Joe Orsulak has been approached by a number of clubs interested in acquiring outfield depth. Shapiro said he received a call yesterday from a club that he characterized as "very encouraging," and there are about five other inquiries he will be following up on.
Moyer, Coolbaugh added
The Orioles signed two minor-league free agents, left-handed pitcher Jamie Moyer and third baseman Scott Coolbaugh.
Moyer, 30, pitched for the Detroit Tigers' Triple-A affiliate in Toledo, Ohio, last season, going 10-8 with a 2.86 ERA in 21 games. Coolbaugh, 26, played for San Diego's Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas last season before he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. He hit a combined .248 with 13 home runs in 387 Triple-A at-bats.