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Angels' focus remains on Teixeira

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1Angels' focus remains on Teixeira Empty Angels' focus remains on Teixeira on Sun 16 Nov 2008, 12:54 am

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ANAHEIM -- With six free agents of their own hitting the open market and dozens of others to consider, the Angels have a lot of work to do as the bidding has started in earnest across Major League Baseball with the 15-day window of exclusive negotiating rights having closed.
Owner Arte Moreno dropped a bomb in an interview with AM-830 on Wednesday when he said the club is all but out of the bidding for closer Francisco Rodriguez. Moreno also made admiring remarks about Manny Ramirez, suggesting the club might take a run at the colorful outfielder if first baseman Mark Teixeira proves to be out of reach.
Teixeira remains the Angels' top priority, with the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles and Nationals among other clubs reportedly preparing offers for his busy agent, Scott Boras.
The Angels have varying degrees of interest in retaining their other free agents -- Garret Anderson, Jon Garland, Darren Oliver and Juan Rivera. With a potential hole in the rotation, the Angels figure to weigh in on CC Sabathia, who is expected to be the Yankees' No. 1 target. The free-agent list contains a number of quality starters, with A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe and Ben Sheets right behind Sabathia.
All six of their free agents helped drive the Angels to their Major League-leading, franchise-best 100-win season. While Teixeira and Rodriguez figure to be the most intensely pursued, Anderson, Garland, Oliver and Rivera also should have appeal.
The Kitty's are among four clubs reportedly interested in Oliver, a stabilizing force in middle relief the past two seasons for manager Mike Scioscia. Garland will be considered by close to a dozen clubs in need of an innings-eating starter, but he'll have to accept a more accommodating salary than the $12 million he drew this season.
Anderson, entering free agency for the first time after another good season, also has appeal in a variety of places because of his versatility as a hitter and his solid defense in left field. Rivera is looking for a regular job as a corner outfielder and could be a fit in a place such as Cincinnati, with the Reds looking for right-handed muscle.
Teixeira -- acquired from Atlanta on July 29 at the cost of Casey Kotchman and prospect Steve Marek -- is represented by Boras, who is believed to be seeking a deal of at least six seasons at about $20 million per year. Boras puts the 28-year-old slugger in the exclusive class of Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Ramirez as "players who pay for themselves" through various revenues they generate.
Angels' focus remains on Teixeira Include
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"We think very highly of Mark and have made him a high priority," Angels general manager Tony Reagins said, adding that "it is possible but unlikely" the club would have the resources to sign two high-end free agents.
"We will need offense," Reagins said when asked about the impact of not retaining Teixeira. The club's fallback plan at first base includes Kendry Morales, a switch-hitter who has shown potential the past two seasons but has not played regularly at the Major League level.
K-Rod, coming off a record 62-save season, also could have a relatively long wait before signing given how many teams -- at least a half-dozen, headed by the Mets -- are in the market for a closer.
The Angels have in-house options, Reagins said, in veteran Scot Shields and Jose Arredondo, who had an impressive rookie season in 2008. They are not interested in all-times saves leader Trevor Hoffman but could take a run at southpaw Brian Fuentes. Veteran right-hander Chad Cordero, with a local background and a desire to pitch for the Angels, became a free agent after having shoulder surgery in July while employed by the Nationals.
The club has a projected budget of $120 million to $125 million. Moreno has made it clear he doesn't plan to exceed by significant measure the club's $119.2 million payroll entering the 2008 season.
If Garland, acquired from the White Sox last winter for shortstop Orlando Cabrera, doesn't return, Reagins said he wouldn't be uncomfortable throwing the fifth starter's job open to competition among right-handers Dustin Moseley, Nick Adenhart, Shane Loux and Anthony Ortega.


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