Reagins says Teixeira still priority
Angels GM doesn't expect much to happen before Meetings
ANAHEIM -- With Mark Teixeira still the Angels' highest priority, general manager Tony Reagins said he doesn't anticipate anything happening before the Winter Meetings convene in Las Vegas on Monday."It doesn't look like we'll have anything done by then," Reagins said on Tuesday. But what happens in Vegas definitely won't stay in Vegas. It appears going into Major League Baseball's annual trade and sign (free agents) show that the Angels haven't significantly altered their offseason plan. Reagins made it clear that Teixeira remains No. 1 on the club's list of targets, with everything else lining up behind the power-hitting first baseman seeking a long-term deal in the $20 million per year range. Regains said "there was nothing to" reports that had the Angels moving past Teixeira and focusing on starter CC Sabathia, adding that the club has "no concerns" about Teixeira's left knee, which was subjected to arthroscopic surgery in 2007. A published report indicated the Angels were too concerned with the knee long-term to go past six years for Teixeira, triggering a move toward Sabathia. The Yankees reportedly have a six-year, $140 million offer in front of Sabathia. It is highly doubtful the Angels would go that high for him with starting pitching one of their strengths and bigger needs on offense. Reagins said the Angels have not made a play for Jake Peavy, the Padres' ace who has been linked with a number of teams in trade discussions. In offering arbitration to Jon Garland on Monday, a move that surprised many insiders, the Angels feel they are in what amounts to a win-win situation, Reagins maintained. "He adds to our depth if he accepts [arbitration], and we get a Draft pick if he declines and goes to another club," Reagins said. If Garland declines the offer by Sunday's deadline and signs a multiyear deal elsewhere, the Angels would land a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds of the next First-Year Player Draft as compensation for the Type B free agent. If Garland accepts, coming off a 14-10 year, the Angels will have a durable, dependable starter at the back end of the rotation. It also would give them the latitude to move a starter in a deal, with offense clearly a priority.
Type A free agents Teixeira, Francisco Rodriguez and Darren Oliver also were offered arbitration, guaranteeing the Angels two Draft picks in compensation if they sign with other clubs.Teixeira and K-Rod will explore the market, but Oliver -- given his age (38) and the compensation required to sign him -- could return for a third season at a substantial raise from the $2 million he earned as a first-rate middle reliever last season. Only Garret Anderson, a Type B free agent, was not offered arbitration after the Angels elected not to pick up the left fielder's $11 million option for next season. "We still can try to sign all our guys," Reagins said, referring to the five free agents. "Offering [arbitration] just allows us to get compensation if a player signs elsewhere." Anderson, a free agent for the first time after 14 highly productive seasons in Anaheim, can sign with any club without compensation. Also in that category is Juan Rivera, who enjoyed two solid seasons with the Angels before a broken leg diminished his playing time the past two seasons. Paul Kinzer, the agent for K-Rod, expects to be busy in Las Vegas sorting through proposals, with the Mets and the Brewers mentioned among possible destinations for the All-Star closer. It is conceivable Rodriguez could return to Anaheim if the reliever-rich market doesn't yield the estimated $15 million annually K-Rod is generally believed to be seeking.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.