``It appears Schilling-to-Baltimore is dead,'' Borris said yesterday afternoon, a few hours before his client took the Dodger Stadium mound to face Hideo Nomo.
After the game, in which Schilling absorbed a 4-1 loss, both Schilling and Borris said the Phillies had reconsidered and will contact the Orioles today to try to work out a deal.
``This thing changes minute by minute. [GM] Lee [Thomas] is going to call the Orioles and some other teams today,'' Borris said.
The other teams, Borris indicated, would be Atlanta, Cleveland and Florida. To go to one of those three teams, Schilling would seek a serious upgrade to the $15.45 million he is guaranteed by the Phillies over the next three years. The Orioles, a favored team in Schilling's heart, would have to give him only a modest increase.
Schilling spent parts of three seasons, from 1988 to 1990, with the O's. His wife, Shonda, is a Baltimore native, and a move to that city would not require a major uprooting of his young family.
``The Orioles were pushing to get him for quite some time,'' Borris said yesterday afternoon.
Last night's developments notwithstanding, the Phillies privately remain unimpressed with Baltimore's prospects. The Phillies are looking for pitchers and outfielders who are close to being major-league ready.
Cleveland seems to have those types of players. In their discussions yesterday afternoon, the Phillies asked Borris to find out what it would take for Schilling to accept a deal to Cleveland.
``The Phillies tell me they want the parameters of what it would take for Curt to go to Cleveland,'' Borris said. ``That suggests to me they have interest in Cleveland's prospects.''
The Phillies like outfielder Brian Giles and pitchers Jaret Wright and Bartolo Colon. It's doubtful the Phils would trade a pitcher of Schilling's stature unless the deal included Wright. He beat the A's, 6-3, yesterday, coming within one out of a complete game. He struck out eight. That can only hurt the Phils' chances of getting him, which reduces the chances of Schilling being dealt before the midnight Thursday deadline.
The Indians' interest in Schilling is believed to have escalated over the last 48 hours after a deal for Kansas City righthander Kevin Appier fell through on Friday.
Schilling, who on Friday indicated he was getting tired of this soap opera, said he still was open to a trade.
``They're going to attempt something with Baltimore,'' he said after last night's loss, showing his true preference.
Schilling added that the odds are against his being traded. ``I'll most likely be here,'' he said.
He did say that he was ``sick of losing.''
Schilling has drawn criticism in some circles for his apparent ambivalence. Just four months ago, it was of the utmost importance to him that he have a no-trade clause. Now, he gives off strong indications that he'd like to leave the Phillies - and make more money in the process.
Borris was asked about the appearance that Schilling wants to have it both ways.
``Wanting his cake and eating it too would be to stay in Philly and win with them,'' Borris said. ``Yes, it was extremely important to Curt to stay home in Philly. But the prospects of winning in Philly in the near future are bleak.''
Borris acknowledged that Schilling has been ``worn down by losing.''
``It's a joke that his record is 11-9,'' he said before the game. ``He could get his 200th strikeout tonight and it's only July. But he's barely a .500 pitcher. That's unbelievable.''
Borris was initially disappointed that the Phillies wouldn't try to get something done with the Orioles.
``It's interesting to me the Phillies would say they're not interested in Baltimore's prospects,'' he said early in the afternoon. ``I find it hard to believe that Baltimore didn't have respectable-enough prospects to get this done. They have many quality players, such as Tony Tarasco, that could lead the way to a new Phillies future.''
Borris is Tarasco's representative.
DODGERS TOP PHILS, 4-1
* CURT SCHILLING NOTCHED HIS 200TH STRIKEOUT OF THE SEASON LAST NIGHT. BUT HE RECEIVED ONLY FEEBLE OFFENSIVE SUPPORT AND WAS UNABLE TO STOP MIKE PIAZZA, WHO HIT TWO HOME RUNS AS THE DODGERS BEAT THE PHILLIES, 4-1, IN FRONT OF A CROWD OF 43,603 AT DODGER STADIUM. C10.