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Palmeiro close to return as Oriole

 

Team nears deal with 39-year old first baseman; Negotiations continue with Guerrero, Surhoff

 

By Joe Christensen

Baltimore Sun Staff

 

January 7, 2004, 10:46 PM EST

 

Five years and 214 home runs after leaving the Orioles as a free agent, Rafael Palmeiro appears to be headed back to Baltimore.

 

The Orioles are very close to an agreement to re-sign Palmeiro, team officials said Wednesday night, with the sides still negotiating whether to make it a two-year deal or a one-year deal with an option for 2005.

 

Palmeiro, 39, who hit his 500th career home run last year for the Texas Rangers, apparently not only wants to return to Camden Yards, he wants to play first base.

 

And with team sources saying the Orioles also made significant progress Wednesday in their negotiations with free agent right fielder Vladimir Guerrero, it looks like right fielder Jay Gibbons will spend much of next season as the team's designated hitter.

 

Asked about the Palmeiro negotiations, a top Orioles official said, "You can pretty much bet that deal's going to be made."

 

With regard to the Guerrero negotiations, he added, "I think we're in the driver's seat."

 

Palmeiro, Guerrero, and shortstop Miguel Tejada are all represented by the same agents, Fernando Cuza and Diego Benz, and after signing Tejada to a six-year, $72 million deal last month, the Orioles are giving new meaning to one-stop shopping.

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Are the O's planning to add any pitching ??? ... yeah thats nice that they got Javy and Tejada , maybe even Vladdy to a lineup that already had Gibbons, Mora.. and whatever ... but what about pitching, i cant name you a starter in that team besides Ainsworth , they dotn have Ponson (overated) and they let go of Damian Moss. so i dont get it, getting all this bunch of high priced hitters to end up 4th place behind the Blue Jays.

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I guess they think there young pitching will do fine and that building a high powered offense will get them enough run support for their young pitchers but of course as everyone knows you need pitching to win in this league.

 

They should at least add one or two veterans to help them. Maybe Maddux or Ponson both are still free agents.

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They should at least add one or two veterans to help them. Maybe Maddux or Ponson both are still free agents.

I really dont think that they can afford both of them ... actually even one if they get Vladdy... they have the money but they dont have that much money, specially knowing that theres no way they are gonna beat the Yanks and the BoSox

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