Camden Courier-Post - May 16, 1980

Phillies may make trade for Garber


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


OKLAHOMA CITY – The Phillies' annual trek (to tornado alley) for an appearance against their Triple-A farm club met headlong with a particularly nasty squall yesterday that washed away the exhibition game and left the club stranded in minor league limbo.


With hours to kill before leaving here for Houston, the final stop on this 10-day home trip, it seemed appropriate that talk would turn to the future; to what might be if the players and owners somehow find a way to reach an agreement prior to the May 22 strike deadline.


Chief among the topics was a trade being considered by General Manager Paul Owens. The deal would bring reliever Gene Garber back to the Phillies from the Atlanta Braves. Another point Owens dealt with was the possibility of sending a number of the younger Phils to the minor leagues next week to give them an opportunity to play in the event of a strike.


"I THINK," said Owens, "they (the Braves) will move Garber. We've got until (the June 15) trade deadline, so now we have to make up our minds. I don't know if we can do it right now (because of the possibility of the strike), but we'll kick it around."


The only thing Owens has to kick around in his mind is the relative soundness of Garber’s right arm. Atlanta General Manager John Mullen has apparently made Owens an offer he can't refuse. Indeed, the Braves may be willing to accept minor league catcher Ozzie Virgil in exchange for Garber, who is reportedly unhappy – who isn't? – in Atlanta.


"I like Garber," said Owens. "He does have a no-trade (clause) in his contract, but I'm sure he'd waive it for us. The only thing bothering me is he hasn't pitched well. Maybe he's done... I've got enough of that problem.”


IT IS natural for Owens to want assurance of Garber's health, since the right-hander has struggled through 12 games this season. Garber has been knocked around for 20 hits and 11 earned runs in 13 innings. And, that is coming off a hot-and-cold 1979 in which Garber saved 25 games, but lost 16 – a record number for a reliever – and finished with a 4.33 earned run average.


Garber had considerable success when he was with the Phils, pitching for their National League East Division championship clubs in 1976 and 1977. But Owens parted with him to pry starter Dick Ruthven away from the Braves in June, 1978.


Owens, too, is interested in Joaquin Andujar, a righthanded starter who has fallen into disuse in pitching-rich Houston. That deal, however, seems far down the road, since Owens has no idea what Astros General Manager Tal Smith would want in return.


IT SEEMS Owens and Manager Dallas Green will form some sort of battle plan as the strike deadline nears. Right now, they're toying with the idea of sending Dickie Noles, Kevin Saucier, Scott Munninghoff, Luis Aguayo, Keith Moreland, George Vukovich and Ramon Aviles to the minors. It would take some administrative sleight-of-hand and the decision is far from made, but the motivation behind it would be to give the younger guys a chance to continue playing during the strike.


"It's ticklish," said Owens, "but I would rather have them down there (in the minors) playing."


PHILUPS – When Pete Rose signed his four-year contract for $3.2 million with the Phillies in December, 1978, he had it written in that he would be paid during a strike… But the Phillies claim he has a special services contract involving television and other revenues, and may go to court in an attempt not to pay Rose if there is a strike... The Oklahoma City front office was understandably disappointed with the rainout after an advance sale of close to 8,000 tickets.

Players make new offer


NEW YORK (AP) – If management is willing to accept a two-year freeze on its demands for free agent, compensation, the lingering baseball contract dispute may be headed for settlement.


That is the essence of a bold offer made by Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Players Association, yesterday in an effort to reach an agreement with Ray Grebey and the negotiators for the club owners.


Miller said the two sides are close on a number of issues – close enough for him to make this proposal. If agreement can be reached on those peripheral issues – health and safety, pensions, minimum salaries, etc. – in the next few days, the players will withdraw all of their demands in the areas of free agency and the reserve clause and participate in a two-year joint study of the question.


If, in 1981, management still feels a problem with the current free agent system, the owners could then unilaterally demand that contract negotiations be reopened at that time.


What Miller is suggesting is to put the most troublesome issue in these negotiations – management's demands for . player compensation for free agent signings – on hold for two years. In exchange for that, the players would accept status quo in the free agent-reserve areas.


That means maintaining the six-year waiting period before a player could be eligible for free agency instead of switching to the four or five years which the players have proposed. It would also postpone any changes on matters such as player eligibility for total free agency, limiting the number of rounds in the re-entry draft, the time when a player may demand a trade and other related issues.


By definition, however, it also means that management must accept a two-year hold before it can get compensation and that demand has been a cornerstone of the owners' position since these difficult negotiations began last winter.


"It is our judgment that a perfectly respectable agreement can be made on that basis," Miller said. "It's a compromise proposal. Baseball operated for 80 years under the old reserve system and it has had the revised system for only four years. That's miniscule by comparison. The parties would be well advised to get four more years of experience and look at the results."


After the offer was made yesterday morning, the two sides split up to hold separate discussions. They were scheduled to meet again yesterday afternoon but that official session was never held. Instead, Miller, Grebey and their chief aides met at a location away from the hotel suite where they had been negotiating under the guidance of a federal mediator. The next official negotiating session was scheduled for this morning.


"It's a concession on our part, given the conditions that we resolve the other areas and I think we have a crack at that," Miller said. "If they don't accept, well, it will be perfectly clear to everybody that we've done everything possible to get it settled."


The players have set a May 22 strike deadline, demanding a new basic agreement by that date.