Don't expect Andy Thornton back in Cleveland next season. Thornton, tired of waiting for a contract offer, said recently he's entering the free-agent draft this fall. Thornton's 35 and he's still a quality hitter (25 homers and 75 RBIs so far), but he's never been on a winner, and the Indians' near future is hardly bright.
"Our policy is not to negotiate with a prospective free agent until the end of the season," says Phil Seghi, Gabe Paul's aide-de-camp. Brilliant strategy, fellows.
The Orioles, who'll need a DH to replace Ken Singleton, would seem to be the best bet to land Thornton. Give the Orioles, who've struggled for runs all season, a productive DH and one more productive outfielder—rookie Mike Young, who's coming on, might be the answer—and they could be back in business.
The odds against four pitchers from one Class A team pitching in the majors the next season may be astronomical, but it has happened. We all know about Dwight Gooden, the Mets' 19-year-old phenom who was the ace of the 1983 Lynchburg Mets, but there are also reliever Wes Gardner, who has pitched well for the Mets since joining the team on July 29; Jay Tibbs, who has a 2.18 ERA in seven starts for the Reds after coming over from the Mets in the Bruce Berenyi deal; and Jeff Bettendorf, who started the season with the A's but is now back in the Mets' minor league system.
The experiment has been successful, but Dave Righetti, starter-turned-reliever, is still uncomfortable as the Yankees' bullpen stopper. "We're going to have to talk over the winter about whether I'm going to start or relieve, because the winter is an important time for me," says Righetti. "I get people out in my mind during the winter."
Righetti will probably be getting them out as a reliever again next year. He's cashed in on 22 of his 27 chances for a save, including 13 of the last 14. He's not going anywhere.
The Orioles' Rick Dempsey took a lot of heat earlier this season when he said the Tigers' Jack Morris wouldn't finish more than four or five games over .500. Well, Morris is 5-7 since his 10-1 start.... Tiger free agent Darrell Evans is hitting .170 since May 25.... Joe Morgan has been saying for years he doesn't want to manage, and he said it again last week after Pete Rose got the Reds job. His reasons: "Big contracts, lack of concentration on the field and [the fact that these days] nobody seems to sit around talking baseball."... When Rod Carew went on the DL, his place on the Angels' roster was taken by Darrell Miller, the older brother of U.S. Olympic basketball gold medalist Cheryl Miller.... Tony LaRussa started Greg Luzinski, Tom Paciorek and Jerry Dybzinski at Yankee Stadium on Polish-American Night recently, and, according to Dybzinski, he had to. "He got a call from Lech Walesa before the game."... Seattle's Ed Vande Berg is tired of the way Del Crandall has shuttled him between the rotation (where he's 6-11 with a 5.68 ERA) and short relief (1-1, 1.63), an odd combination, to be sure. "It's screwing me up, and screwing up my concentration," says Vande Berg, normally a short man. "They can't do that to me. I want out of the rotation."