Camden Courier Post - December 12, 1980

Boone’s name comes up in trade talks

 

By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post

 

DALLAS – While everyone else at these baseball winter meetings thought the Phillies were holding their breath in anticipation of getting outfielder Sixto Lezcano out of the jigsaw trade being hatched between the Cardinals and Brewers, a new name was cropping up – Bob Boone.

 

It was not the Phils' intention to market their All-Star catcher. At least not when they arrived here. Boone's backup, Keith Moreland, was the obvious target of catcher-hungry clubs.

 

But, the Cardinals insistence in trying to make what some folks think is a bad trade with Milwaukee keeps altering the picture at what seems like a moment-to-moment clip.

 

As late as dinnertime last evening, the Phils were still anticipating the opening of a crack in the St. Louis-Milwaukee negotiations. One big enough to allow Lezcano to slip through.

 

Backup talks with the California Angels, however, suddenly began developing into something quite interesting.

 

The Angels want a catcher. Moreland seemed the logical choice until California upped the ante, indicating they would give the Phils left fielder Don Baylor, the American League's 1979 Most Valuable Player, if General Manager Paul Owens would agree to make Boone the catcher in the deal.

 

If there is a hangup to such a trade, it would be Boone's contract, which reportedly includes a loan or loans made to him by the Phillies at low interest rates.

 

These loans, made in all probability to finance Boone's highly successful racquetball and Nautilus centers in South Jersey, would probably have to be assumed by the Angels or some sort of settlement reached between the two clubs before such a trade could be made.

 

In all likelihood, the Phils will wait until the Brewers and Cardinals sort out their differences today and decide if Ted Simmons. Is going to be a part of the multi-player package they're hatching.

 

Simmons wants it all – a cool $1 million for agreeing to go to Milwaukee, plus an agreement that he'll be permitted to catch approximately 100 games rather than simply be a designated hitter.

 

His insistence at being in the catcher's position for so many games is reportedly the reason the Baltimore Orioles withdrew an offer for Simmons in which they would have given up pitchers Dave Ford and Sammy Stewart, plus outfielder Gary Roenicke.

 

That left St. Louis with reportedly two different deals with the Brewers. The first one would include Simmons, reliever Rollie Fingers and pitcher Pete Vuckovich. They would go to the Brewers in exchange for right fielder Lezcano, starting pitcher Lary Sorenson, number one pitching prospect David Green and another minor league hopeful.

 

If the Simmons part of the deal is made even more complicated by his contract, the second deal would come into play – Simmons would come out of the negotiations and Lezcano's name would also be withdrawn.

 

That's what the Phillies are anticipating because they really aren't thrilled with the idea of losing Boone, even though there is every reason to expect that Baylor will come back from his injury-riddled season and regain his stature as a home run hitter to be feared.

 

Lezcano, who is not in Baylor's league as a power hitter, but is twice the defensive player, was prized enough by the Phils far them to offer the Brewers pitchers Randy Lerch, Dickie Noles, Ron Reed and Scott Munninghoff if they would give him up.

 

"That's a good deal for the Brewers, who are hurting for pitching,” said Owens. "But, if the Brewers can get a top reliever, like Fingers and also acquire a hitter like; Simmons... well, we can't compete with that offer."

 

The general consensus here is that the Brewers should make the Cardinal deal and leave town before the Cardinals change their minds. Unfortunately, the quality of the St. Louis offer has Milwaukee officials thinking teams like the Phils will follow suit.

 

For example, in their negotiations with Owens they've consistently demanded one of the two top pitching prospects in the National League, Marty Bystrom or Mark Davis, be made available by the Phils in order to obtain Lezcano.

 

The Phillies, of course, aren't about to go that far. They want to get a first-rate throwing arm for right field, thereby allowing them to platoon Bake McBride and Lonnie Smith in left field. But, if the price is too high, they'll settle for a slugger like Baylor, who can bat behind Mike Schmidt, thereby freeing the Phils to trade Greg Luzinski.

 

Word is that the Chicago Cubs are interested in putting together a package trade. They'd send pitcher Rick Reuschel (11-13) and outfielder Jerry Martin to the Phils in exchange for Luzinski, Luis Aguayo and Jay Loviglio.

 

Out on the fringes of the major talks, the Atlanta Braves are making faint noises like they wouldn't mind sending outfielder Garry Matthews to Philly in exchange for Larry Christenson or Bob Walk.

 

Meanwhile, the Mets continue to push for Randy Lerch and the Blue Jays continue to pray that Owens will suddenly take leave of all his senses and give them either Moreland, Bystrom or Davis in a trade for either Jim Clancy or Dave Stieb, both hotshot, strikeout pitchers.

 

Lots of teams, lots of possibilities, lots of waiting and lots of names. But, the name that raised eyebrows late last night was a new one – Bob Boone.

Pace slows at meetings

 

By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor

 

DALLAS – There was neither quality nor quantity at the major league baseball meetings here yesterday.

 

After three days of major trades featuring all-star players, the meetings produced only minor moves involving such well traveled veterans as catcher Cliff Johnson and pitcher John D'Acquisto.

 

The owners' finished the business portion of the week-long convention and talent-swapping by vetoing the proposed sale of the Chicago White Sox, extending the contract of National League President Charles Feeney and changing the American League's designated hitter rule.

 

FEENEY'S CONTRACT was extended three years through the 1983 season and the long-time National League boss was given a substantial raise and a bonus.

 

The change in the baseball rules was a slap at some late season strategy employed by Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver. The Orioles were listing a pitcher as the designated hitter to permit Weaver the luxury of making a choice of batters when the DH was finally due to hit.

 

The move gave Weaver a few extra innings to make a decision, but it was driving the record keepers crazy. "More than anything else, it fouled up the statistics," said Vince Neuss of the Commissioner's Office.

 

It won't be a problem any longej. From now on, the starting DH must bat.

 

"UNLESS THE starting pitcher has been removed, the starting designated hitter must bat at least once," the new rule says.

 

Subject to approval' by the players, the rule will be instituted this spring and Weaver's little strategy ploy has been foiled.

 

The trading situation trickled to almost nothing as owners and their field managers met in small groups to discuss 11th-hour deals. The winter inter-league trading deadline is midnight local time tonight.

 

"Like most other teams, we'd like to do a few things," said Jim Fregosi, the California Angels manager who acquired all-star shortstop Rick Burleson from the Red Sox Wednesday night. "I think there will be some more biggies."

 

THE PHILLIES were talking with the Milwaukee Brewers, Angels and Atlanta Braves. The St. Louis Cardinals were very near another major trade, this one involving all-star catcher Ted Simmons and the Brewers.

 

But the actual deals were at a much lower level.

 

D'Acquisto, who has been with four National League clubs, moved into the American League when the Angels signed him as a free agent. Although he was 2-5 with the Montreal Expos last year and 9-13 with San Diego the year before, D'Acquisto received a four-year contract from the Angels.

 

"He has an excellent arm," said Fregosi. "I like the way he-throws the fast ball."

 

"I'M GOING to a club I feel I can really help," D'Acquisto said. "That means a lot to me."

 

Oakland Manager Billy Martin reacquired Johnson by sending minor league pitcher Mike King to the Chicago Cubs.

 

"I hated to give up a young kid like King," said Martin. "But this gives us the added punch we need."

 

Johnson hit only .235 for the Chicago club but managed 10 home runs.

 

"We are delighted to get King," said a Cub spokesman. "He was selected No. 4 in the draft last year."

 

He also was 0-4 in five games for the Athletics' Ogden farm club.