The Orioles have notified third baseman Mike Pagliarulo and outfielder Lonnie Smith that they would not be offered arbitration, so both are eligible to file for free agency today.
Pagliarulo and Smith both were acquired during the second half of the 1993 season to give the Orioles more experience off the bench. Smith did not play much, but Pagliarulo quickly moved into a regular role at third base and made enough of a contribution to get strong consideration for a new contract.
"This was a procedural thing," said general manager Roland Hemond. "It doesn't mean that we can't keep talking to them."
Both players were governed by "repeater rights," a provision in baseball's Basic Agreement that keeps a player -- under most circumstances -- from declaring himself a free agent more than once every five years.
The club had until midnight last night to offer them arbitration. If the club had done so, Pagliarulo and Smith would have been bound to the Orioles for the 1994 season.
Instead, they are eligible to file for free agency and begin contacting other clubs beginning today.
Hemond indicated that the Orioles are interested in continuing negotiations with both players, though it seems apparent that there is far greater interest in Pagliarulo. He and utility man Tim Hulett platooned successfully at third base for the final two months of the season.
Pitcher Rick Sutcliffe and second baseman Harold Reynolds are the other two Orioles governed by repeater rights, but both had clauses in their contracts that allowed them to instruct the team not to offer arbitration.
Sutcliffe has notified the team he will file for free agency today. Reynolds probably will do so before the Nov. 9 deadline.
Four other Orioles -- Harold Baines, Hulett, Fernando Valenzuela and Mark Williamson -- are eligible to become unrestricted free agents after the filing period is over.
NOTE: The Orioles have spoken to former Orioles OF Al Bumbry about a possible coaching job, but Hemond said the club is not sure it will fill the position left vacant when third-base coach Mike Ferraro was fired. Bumbry recently was let go by the Boston Red Sox, and contacted the Orioles soon thereafter.