Free-agent relief pitcher Gregg Olson has drawn interest from a number of other teams, but contract negotiations with the Orioles are set to resume next week.
Agent Jeff Moorad has indicated that there is significant outside interest in Olson, who was left untendered by the Orioles on Dec. 20 because of the uncertain condition of his injured pitching elbow. Though other clubs figured to be equally wary of his physical condition, 10 teams reportedly have expressed at least mild interest, and the California Angels are expected to present an offer soon.
Angels executive vice president Whitey Herzog confirmed the Angels' interest and expressed confidence that the 27-year-old closer would overcome a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. He said he would be making an offer in the next few days, but he didn't seem convinced Olson was willing to leave Baltimore.
"All things being equal, I think he'll stay where he was," Herzog said.
Moorad said yesterday that Olson's first choice would be to remain in Baltimore, despite some initial surprise and disappointment that the club would not tender him a contract last week.
"We're going to stay in touch with Baltimore throughout this process," Moorad said, "since his first choice is to return to the Orioles. I talked to [assistant general manager] Doug Melvin earlier this week and we'll get back together the first of next week."
Olson, meanwhile, will travel to Birmingham, Ala., next week to get his elbow checked by orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews. Earlier reports have been promising, but Olson and Moorad feel an updated evaluation by a neutral doctor could help with free-agent negotiations.
"He'll visit Dr. Andrews the first part of next week to get a separate medical opinion, which several teams have requested to confirm our optimistic reports," Moorad said.
The Angels were not one of those teams. Assistant GM Bill Bavasi met with Moorad on Tuesday to initiate negotiations. Bavasi made a presentation, but it did not include a financial proposition. That is expected to come today or tomorrow.
If the Angels were to succeed in signing Olson, it would complete a circle of sorts. They left closer Bryan Harvey available in the expansion draft last year because of doubts about the condition of his elbow. Harvey was chosen by the Florida Marlins and ranked third in the National League with 45 saves.