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Trade Rumors Irk Alomar, Palmeiro

May 25, 1998

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Roberto Alomar doesn’t want to think about them. Rafael Palmeiro says they bother him. Ray Miller says it’s out of his hands.

In the midst of the Baltimore Orioles’ floundering season, trade rumors are swirling around Alomar and Palmeiro, two of the team’s top players who could become free agents after this season.

``When you’re going bad, these things tend to pop up and the rumors get a little more heated,″ Miller, the Orioles’ first-year manager, said Sunday before Baltimore’s game at Oakland. ``It’s ownership’s call. They’re the ones who will make the decision.″

The Orioles, whose $69 million payroll is the highest in the majors, began Sunday in last place in the AL East. On Saturday night, they snapped a nine-game losing streak, their longest since 1988′s 0-21 start, with a 9-1 win over the A’s.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos may be losing patience. Assistant general manager Kevin Malone has said the club hopes to have an acceptable trade involving either Palmeiro or Alomar or both worked out within a week.

One scenario had the two going to the New York Mets in exchange for John Olerud and Carlos Baerga, though Malone conceded that was unlikely because Palmeiro has a clause in his contract giving him veto power over any deal sending him to a New York team.

Mets general manager Steve Phillips wouldn’t discuss teams. but said Sunday the Mets still are considering 3-4 deals involving major players.

Palmeiro said prior to Sunday’s game that he hasn’t been approached by Orioles management and was disappointed by the trade talk.

``I think it would bother anyone, unless you don’t want to be in that situation or on that team,″ Palmeiro said. ``Then it wouldn’t bother you. But I want to be here with these guys. I want to be part of this team, so yeah, it bothers me a little.″

Palmeiro said he was trying to focus on baseball.

``I’m not worrying about it too much. I’m just concentrating on my game, trying to help my team win,″ Palmeiro said.

During batting batting practice, Alomar was approached by a photographer who jokingly told him he thought he would have been in New York by now.

``It says here I’m an Oriole,″ Alomar said, underlining the jersey logo.

Alomar said he had no desire to discuss the possibility he was going elsewhere.

``Rumors are rumors. You guys make the rumors,″ Alomar said. ``I’m just going to play my game, no matter what.″

The 30-year-old Alomar, in the final season of an $18 million, three-year contract, is one of the team’s younger players. Palmeiro, 33, is in the final season of a $30 million, five-year deal. Both are eligible for free agency after this season.

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