- The Washington Times - Friday, November 16, 2001

With other clubs showing little interest in a trade, the Baltimore Orioles are expected to release Brady Anderson in the next four days, severing a 13-year relationship with the veteran outfielder and fan favorite.
Orioles vice president of baseball operations Syd Thrift said he hopes to work out a trade for the 37-year-old Anderson before he must submit a final 40-man roster to Major League Baseball on Tuesday.
But few clubs, if any, are looking to make deals in the remaining days before the free agent market opens for business. General managers around the league are also wary of adding high-priced veterans to their rosters given the uncertain economic status of the sport at the moment.
That means the Orioles likely will be left with no choice but to release Anderson, who has one year remaining on a five-year, $31million contract and would reportedly agree to wave his no-trade status if a deal could be made.
"It's been a big concern for me, not just this week but last week and the week before last," Thrift said yesterday. "We have a lot of good people and only so many spaces."
Baltimore apparently does not have a space for Anderson, coming off the least productive season of his career and due to earn $4million in 2002. Should he be released, Anderson still would receive his Orioles salary and could then look to sign with another team for the league minimum.
A mainstay in the Baltimore lineup for more than a decade, Anderson has steadily declined since his breakthrough 50-homer, 110-RBI season in 1996. He lost his leadoff spot and his everyday status last season, finishing with eight homers, 45 RBI and an American League-worst .202 batting average.
Anderson, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, conceded before this season's final game that it could be his last in a Baltimore uniform. In his apparent last at-bat, Anderson struck out with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and retiring star Cal Ripken standing in the on-deck circle.
The Orioles' decision to let Anderson go, Thrift said, has more to do with roster numbers than offensive numbers.
"Absolutely; there's no question about that," said Thrift, who has not spoken directly to Anderson, only his agents. "That's the reason."
Baltimore ended last season with nine players on the 60-day disabled list, all of whom must be added to the 40-man roster by Tuesday in order to be protected. The Orioles also want to protect several younger prospects, which may necessitate more subtractions from their major league roster.
Meanwhile, Baltimore named former catcher Rick Dempsey as its new first-base coach yesterday, replacing Eddie Murray, who left Wednesday to become hitting coach for the Cleveland Indians.
Dempsey, who played 12 seasons for the Orioles, spent last year as an analyst on Comcast's baseball telecasts. He was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers' coaching staff for two years and previously managed at the Class AAA level for four years.
In addition to his duties as first-base coach, the 52-year-old Dempsey, who flew in from his home in California on Wednesday to interview for the position, will work with the team's catchers. Perhaps more importantly, he hopes to instill his experience from the Orioles' glory days in the late 1970s and early '80s in a franchise reeling from four straight losing seasons.
"There's so many things that they need to do to become a good quality team again," said Dempsey, who signed a one-year contract. "It's going to take a lot of energy and a lot of work to do that. I've got both."


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