NEW YORK (AP) _ While David Cone said he finally would pick his new team on Thursday, B.J. Surhoff signed with the Baltimore Orioles and Bryan Harvey returned to his original team, the California Angels.

While Cone wouldn't say which way he was leaning, several agents said they had heard his preference was the Orioles, not the New York Yankees.

``The likelihood is something will happen with one of the two clubs tomorrow, but I don't know which,'' said Cone's agent, Steve Fehr. ``It's a question of making a decision and finalizing details.''

Surhoff got a $3.7 million, three-year deal from the Orioles and can earn $4.75 million over the length of the contract if he plays regularly.

Harvey, who missed most of the past two seasons with an injured elbow, is guaranteed $500,000 by the Angels and can earn $1.75 million more in performance bonuses.

There was one trade Wednesday. The Houston Astros dealt right-handed reliever Dave Veres and minor league catcher Raul Chavez to Montreal for third baseman Sean Berry.

``This is one of the last big pieces to our puzzle,'' Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker said.

Meanwhile, clubs created at least 39 more free agents when they failed to offer contracts by Wednesday night's midnight deadline. Most of the players were eligible for salary arbitration and had relatively high salaries and mediocre statistics.

Among those set free were Baltimore pitcher Ben McDonald, Chicago White Sox shortstop Craig Grebeck, Chicago Cubs third baseman Todd Zeile, Philadelphia pitchers Tommy Greene and David West and San Francisco outfielder Deion Sanders.

The Phillies didn't offer contracts to pitchers Curt Schilling, Tommy Greene, David West and outfielder Mark Whiten, but worked out deals with all four for cuts exceeding the 20 percent limit that would have applied before they became free agents.

Schilling will get a $600,000 contract and the chance to earn $1.7 million in bonuses _ which would equal his 1995 salary. Greene, who had a $2 million salary, will get $525,000 with the chance to earn $875,000 in bonuses. Whiten will get $800,000 _ down from $1,728,350 _ plus $1.05 million performance bonuses. West, who had a $950,000 salary, will get $350,000 plus $650,000 in performance bonuses.

San Diego set free shortstop Andujar Cedeno, who made $1.15 million last year, and then agreed to a $500,000 deal plus bonus opportunities.

Kansas City let go of Jose Offerman, acquired Sunday from Los Angeles, and will agree to a $900,000 one-year deal with the chance for $200,000 more in bonuses. Offerman made $1.6 million last season.

Fifteen players eligible for arbitration agreed to deals. Many of them agreed to sign after their clubs threatened not to offer them contracts and send them into the marketplace.

Cincinnati pitcher Pete Schourek got $3.3 million, up from $762,777, and Reds pitcher Dave Burba got $1.1 million, nearly double his $600,000 salary this year. Reds catcher Eddie Taubensee got a $2.3 million, three-year contract.

Toronto pitcher Juan Guzman, who was 4-14 last season, took the maximum 20 percent cut to $2.24 million. Blue Jays catcher Randy Knorr got $280,000, a raise of $40,000.

Florida pitcher Chris Hammond got $1.6 million, a raise of $575,000. Cleveland pitcher Mark Clark was guaranteed $927,500, up from $750,000. The Indians have a 1997 option that ranges from $1.5 million to $2.4 million, depending on how many innings he pitches next season.

Kansas City pitcher Rusty Meacham got $410,000, a cut of $55,000, and St. Louis catcher Danny Sheaffer got $200,000, the same salary he had in 1995. But it would increase to $335,000 if he spends at least one day on the active roster next season.

Also agreeing to one-year deals were Luis Gonzalez, Larry Casian and Mike Perez of the Cubs, Oakland pitcher Jim Corsi, Boston infielder Tim Naehring and Royals pitcher Mike Magnante.