O's, others go slow on free agency


Not unlike the other 27 major-league clubs, the Orioles are proceeding cautiously on the free-agent front, slowed by uncertainty regarding the rules that govern the game.

"We have had some preliminary talks with agents, but we haven't talked money with anybody yet," said Orioles assistant general manager Frank Robinson. "There is just so much uncertainty. You don't know if there is going to be a salary cap. If there is and you have already promised a lot of money, you would end up having to release a lot of good players you want to keep."

Thus far, no major free agent has left his club to sign with another. But Robinson doesn't think there will be a freeze until a labor agreement is reached. "You'll start to see some movement," he said.

Acquiring a No. 3 starting pitcher is at the top of the Orioles' agenda. The club has contacted the agents of San Francisco's Bill Swift, Philadelphia's Danny Jackson (also being pursued by Colorado and Toronto), Oakland's Bobby Witt and Toronto's Todd Stottlemyre.

Mackanin leaves organization

Pete Mackanin, who managed the Double-A Bowie Baysox to an 84-58 finish in 1994, has left the Orioles' organization to become manager of the Ottawa Lynx of the International League, the Montreal Expos' Triple-A affiliate.

"I didn't know for sure if Syd Thrift would want me to manage and the Expos offered me a Triple-A job," Mackanin said. "There were just too many question marks. Because of that I decided to go with the Expos. I want to go to the big leagues like everybody else and I don't feel I'm going to have that opportunity with the Orioles. They've been very fair to me and I enjoyed my two years with the organization. I just felt my chances of going to the big leagues would be better with Montreal."

Mackanin managed a season at Single-A Frederick and one at Bowie.

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