HONOLULU -- Steve Kemp becomes the New York Yankees' newest millionaire today.
The Yankees have won the sweepstakes for the free agent outfielder and will officially announce his signing at the baseball meetings at noon (5 p.m. EST.)
Kemp will sign a multi-year contract for $1.1 million per year and become the Yankees' regular right fielder. pickup4thgraf: '
'Just what the Yankees need, another designated hitter,' quipped one National Leaguer upon hearing that the Yankees had reached agreement on a new contract with Kemp's agent, Dick Moss.
Kemp is regarded as one of the best hitters in the major leagues but has defensive liabilities.
Although Yankee owner George Steinbrenner continued to deny late Wednesday night that he had successfully lured Kemp into pinstripes, Baltimore general manager Hank Peters said the Orioles had inquired about Kemp to Moss and had been told to forget about him, the Yankees already had him locked up.
Peters and Orioles' owner Edward Bennett Williams are angry over the whole thing. They were under the impression that Kemp was eager to sign with the Orioles.
They believe that Moss was playing both ends against the middle in an effort to drive the price up. As it turned out the Yankee offer was $200,000 more a year for Kemp than what the Orioles offered.
Kemp is the second free agent to sign with the Yankees in the last two weeks. Last week they inked designated hitter Don Baylor to a five-year, $4.5 million contract.
The acquistion of Kemp gives the Yankees a surplus of outfielders and sets up the possibility of a trade before the meetings end Friday.
Steinbrenner said he was still eager to sign free agent outfielder Omar Moreno and, if he does, then it's almost certain Jerry Mumphrey will be dealt.
The status of free agents Steve Garvey and Floyd Bannister remains unsolved, but it's almost certain they won't be joining the Yankees.
Garvey said Wednesday he was still mulling over his offers and that he had no timetable on when he would reach a decision. San Diego and the Chicago Cubs remain the front-runners for the All-Star first baseman's services.
Bannister's agent, Tom Reich, said Wednesday that a decision on his client would not be reached at the meetings. Kansas City, St. Louis and Philadelphia appear to be waging the biggest battle for his services.
For the second day in a row there were no trades completed at the meetings but several possible deals were brewing.
The St. Louis Cardinals are interested in obtaining third baseman Buddy Bell from Texas and have offered third baseman Ken Oberkfell, outfielder George Hendrick and an unnamed pitcher.
Pitcher Bob Knepper of the Houston Astros also is available and the New York Mets are interested.
In other business Wednesday, Milwaukee Brewers' president Bud Selig said that it would be January or February before the search committee would begin interviewing candidates for the job as baseball commissioner.
Selig, chairman of the search committee, said the prime concern of the committee right now was to come up a job description for the position.
'It's clear that nothing else can follow until a job description is written and finalized,' said Selig. 'We're trying to move ahead with as much dispatch as possible and I think by January or February we will have gotten to stage two of our plan and begin interviewing people for the position.'
In other developments, free agent Reggie Smith, who failed to find a team interested in him, has agreed to play for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan for $1 million a year ... the Chicago White Sox sold relief pitcher Ernesto Escarrega to the Mexico City Reds.