11/26/08 5:20 PM EST
Angels could make run at epic rotation
Sabathia, Peavy could be options if club moves off Teixeira
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
Sabathia, whose price tag is somewhere in the $140 million range across six years, has been remarkably durable in eight seasons, averaging 207 innings and 32 starts. Peavy, in six full seasons, has averaged 194 innings and 30 starts.Sabathia, the New York Yankees' No. 1 target in free agency, reportedly would like to pitch closer to home after spending last season in Cleveland and Milwaukee. He's from Northern California. Peavy, who has $63 million coming over the next four years, has been shopped by the Padres without success -- although they were apparently close to a deal with the Braves before it fell through. The 27-year-old right-hander is, like Sabathia, a capable hitter and prefers to stay in the National League. But the Angels and Yankees are the two AL clubs for whom he would consider dropping his no-trade rights. Making San Diego his permanent home, Peavy could easily make the commute north to Anaheim without uprooting his family. An intense competitor, Peavy would have to like the idea of pitching for a team that has won four division titles in the past five years. It is conceivable that the Angels could expand a deal to fortify their power supply with shortstop Khalil Greene, who will be eligible for free agency next winter. A superior defensive player, Greene had a dismal 2008, ending with a hand injury in July. But he produced 27 homers and 97 RBIs in 2007, carrying the Padres' offense down the stretch in an intense NL West race. Frustrated by PETCO Park, the Majors' toughest field for hitters, Greene has impressive career road numbers -- .484 slugging percentage, 50 homers, 178 RBIs in 322 games. With a surplus of talented infielders and an organization characterized by Bill James in his 2009 Handbook as "first in the Majors in young pitching," the Angels have the merchandise to swing a deal for Peavy -- and perhaps Greene -- if they're inclined. Padres manager Bud Black has personal knowledge of the Angels' young talent, having served as Mike Scioscia's pitching coach before moving to San Diego after the 2006 season. As for replacing Teixeira -- in heavy demand with the Red Sox, Orioles, Nationals and Yankees reportedly having various levels of interest -- the Angels are high on Kendry Morales, thinking the switch-hitter from Cuba is capable of hitting in the .280 range with about 20 homers. The Angels could re-sign Garret Anderson or Juan Rivera to play left field and have essentially the same lineup as last season, with Morales replacing Teixeira. Reggie Willits and Gary Matthews Jr. also are left-field candidates, and Chone Figgins could be moved from third base to accommodate Brandon Wood or Matt Brown, both coming off big seasons at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.