Philadelphia Inquirer - December 11, 1980

Angels get Burleson; Phils wait


By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer


DALLAS – A .240-hitting utility infielder-outfielder-catcher signed for $1.1 million. A former Oakland A's manager became a coach with the Chunichi Dragons. The most famous relief pitcher to get traded was Kevin Saucier.


For most of yesterday, baseball's winter meetings, a.k.a. The Whitey Herzog Show, suddenly ground into slow motion. When the big stories were Dave Roberts becoming an Astro (albeit a rich Astro), Jim Marshall heading for Japan and Saucier being traded for the second time in three weeks (this time from Texas to Detroit), you know things were slow.


Then the Red Sox and the Angels got into action. And when the dust lifted, the Angels had sent Carney Lansford, Mark Clear and Rick Miller to the Red Sox for infielders Rick Burleson and Butch Hobson.


Until that post-dinnertime maneuver, even Herzog and the Cardinals couldn't work out a deal for anybody more renowned than minor-league catcher Bob Geren. (He was the player named later from Monday's St. Louis-San Diego trade.)


But at least Whitey was working on it. The major reason everybody's trade talk – including the Phillies' – was stopped at a red light earlier yesterday was a six-player deal Herzog was cooking up with Milwaukee.


The Cardinals were mulling sending newly acquired reliever Roland Glen Fingers, catcher-cum-first baseman Ted Simmons and perhaps pitcher Pete Vuckovich to Milwaukee. And the Brewers were considering shipping back starting pitcher Lary Sorensen, much-coveted outfielder Sixto Lezcano and either infielder Jim Gantner or pitcher Jerry Augustine.


Phillies vice president Paul Owens said nearly everybody seems to have something going with St. Louis or Milwaukee or both. So now much of baseball has to wait until they either do something or head back to the marketplace.


What trades the Phillies make this week are largely dependent on a possible deal with Milwaukee for Lezcano. But the Brewers haven't acted very interested since the trade was first proposed Monday. The only word the Phils have heard from them was a brief message yesterday to hang in there while they talked with St. Louis.


Even Owens conceded he was "not too optimistic" about the Brewers trade.


So the Pope again headed in other directions yesterday. The least interesting wes a deal he turned down with Toronto. The Blue Jays wanted Marty Bystrom and phenom Mark Davis (19-6 at Reading) for either pitcher Dave Steib, pitcher Jim Clancy or shortstop Alfredo Griffin. Owens couldn't see much sense in doing that.


"Hell, maybe both of them (Bystrom and Davis) can pitch on our club this year," Owens said. "I know Bystrom can pitch for me. And I'm not too sure how far away Davis is."


After that, he sat down with the Mets for 45 minutes. The prime topic of conversation was Greg Luzinski. The Mets are shopping outfielder Joel Youngblood, a decent contact hitter whose biggest defensive selling point is a great arm (a league-leading 18 assists thisyear).


Owens was looking for Youngblood plus one of the Mets' two young bullpen arms, Neil Allen or Jeff Reardon, for Luzinski.


"It was kind of a preliminary meeting," Owens said. "We really all went in cold."



Key men in the California-Boston deal were Lansford and Burleson. Lansford, 23, a third baseman, hit .264 in 86 games with five home runs and 34 RBls for the Angels last season. He is considered an outstanding fielder.


Burleson, a 29-year-old shortstop, batted .278 in 155 games with eight home runs and 51 RBIs for the Red Sox last season, while Hobson, also 29, the Boston third baseman, averaged .228 in 93 games with 11 homers and 39 RBI.


Clear, 24, is a righthanded pitcher who posted an 11-11 record with a 3.30 earned run average in 106 innings for the Angels. He struck out 105 and walked 81.


Miller, 32, returns to Boston, where he played out his option and signed with California on Dec. 22, 1977. The veteran outfielder hit .274 in 129 games for the Angels in 1980.



The most noteworthy development of the afternoon was the end of the 13-team chase after Roberts, the free agent the baseball masses seemed to covet most. Roberts, who can play eight positions, signed a five-year contract with Houston. The Astros guaranteed $1.1 million of it. Roberts could make another $200,000 over the five years in incentive clauses.


It was a long drop from Roberts to the second-biggest story of the day – the trading of Saucier from the Rangers to the Tigers for shortstop Mark Wagner.



Saucier went from the Phillies to Texas last month as the player to he named later in the Sparky Lyle deal.

Sports People (excerpt)


Big steaks betting


Phillies pitcher Tug McGraw collected a World Series wager on Capitol Hill in Washington.


The bet was between Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas and Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania, both Republicans. Dole wagered 25 pounds of Kansas steaks against a 50-pound soft pretzel and all the beer he could carry. Heinz designated McGraw to pick up the winnings.


"You're going to have to wait many more years to taste one of those pretzels," McGraw told Dole.



McGraw, who has helped raise money to fight multiple sclerosis, said that the steaks would be served to children in Philadelphia’s Police Athletic League.