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Dodgers Hopeful of Landing Brown

December 10, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Kevin Malone expressed optimism concerning the team’s chances of signing coveted free-agent pitcher Kevin Brown after the parties met for several hours Wednesday.

``I think we have a lot to offer, so I’m optimistic,″ Malone said. ``We’re serious players, we want very much for Kevin Brown to be a Los Angeles Dodger. He knows that.″

Malone said no offer was made to Brown, but that certainly will come soon.

``We didn’t really discuss the financial terms, we discussed what Kevin Brown’s priorities are, what he’s looking for, what our goals are, what the plan is, about our commitment to winning,″ Malone said. ``Right now, there’s no scheduled time to make an offer.″

Brown, who has helped the Florida Marlins and San Diego Padres reach the World Series in the last two years, has said he wants to play with a perennial contender, something the Dodgers believe they will be starting in 1999.

They’re certainly spending contender-type money _ Malone said recently the 1999 payroll was already in the vicinity of $73 million, but that wouldn’t be a deterrent from going after Brown.

It’s appearing more unlikely all the time that Brown will return to San Diego. He recently expressed concerns whether the Padres would be able to retain veteran players, and they recently lost two significant ones _ third baseman Ken Caminiti, who signed with Houston, and outfielder Steve Finley, who joined Arizona.

Brown might very well make three.

Scott Boras, Brown’s agent, has said it will take offers of six years and up to get into the second round of bidding. The Padres have said they’re opposed to a contract of that length. Brown, 18-7 with a 2.38 ERA last season, turns 34 in March.

``I think we’re the best fit,″ Malone said. ``If you look at our club, we’ve got quality young championship players, younger in comparison to what most clubs have concerning age. He likes the players we have on this team. He likes the fact that (manager) Davey Johnson’s a winner.

``He, of course, lives in Macon, Ga. He’s building a home there, that is his home. All I can say is he’s interested in the Dodgers, and he’s listening to what we have to say and we’re being strongly considered.″

Malone said he expects to speak with Boras within a few days _ perhaps in Nashville, where the winter baseball meetings start Friday _ to continue the process.

``I’ll wait to hear from Scott Boras,″ Malone said. ``I don’t have a guess (when Brown will make a decision). I’m sure there’s plenty (of teams interested).″

Boras reportedly held a much shorter meeting with Anaheim Angels general manager Bill Bavasi on Tuesday.

While Angels spokesman Tim Mead gave no details, he did say the two had lunch, and added, ``Scott Boras has other clients too, but Kevin Brown is the main discussion point.″

Meanwhile, Padres president Larry Lucchino said the team is not dropping out of the bidding. However, he added, ``Someone may drop us at some point. But we are still hopeful and participating.″

The Padres told Brown during a meeting last month in Atlanta that they almost certainly won’t be the highest bidder.

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