Winter Meetings: Part 2
According to one media report, the talks with Florida collapsed when the Angels took Howie Kendrick off the table.
The Marlins and Tigers made it official, executing the eight-player transaction that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit for six young players.
Los Angeles Times beat writer Mike DiGiovanna reports that the Angels’ negotiations with Florida collapsed when the Angels took Howie Kendrick off the table. If you’ll recall, Angels owner Arte Moreno complained to the press that he thought the Angels twice had a deal done, only to have the Marlins renege. Marlins GM Larry Beinfest took issue today with that claim, although other teams also complained the Marlins were playing them against each other.
In yesterday’s blog, I speculated the Angels might be interested in Twins’ closer Joe Nathan. DiGiovanna reports, "Reagins spoke to Minnesota GM Bill Smith again Wednesday, ‘but not about starting pitching,’ he said. The two discussed Santana last week, but the Angels are not pursuing him aggressively."
There’s that odd phrase again.
Why did Reagins twice state they didn’t talk about "starting pitching"? Why not just say "pitching"?
Yesterday’s MLB.com article reporting Nathan was available indicated moving Nathan might come after Johan Santana’s situation is resolved. Media reports yesterday suggested the Twins and Red Sox had a tentative deal, but the latest reports suggest that deal isn’t imminent. One of the Boston players named in that trade was center fielder Coco Crisp.
If that deal doesn’t happen, then the Twins may look elsewhere for a CF. The Angels have several possible candidates — Reggie Willits, Nathan Haynes, and Terry Evans. Some will suggest Gary Matthews Jr., but he has a no-trade clause through 2009 and no incentive to waive it, especially since he’s building a new home in Newport Beach. Matthews will have a full-time job again after 2008, since Garret Anderson’s contract will expire and it’s unlikely he’ll be re-signed.
Of course, one of those three alone will not acquire Joe Nathan, so the Angels may need to add more. But as I wrote yesterday, once they have Nathan they can dangle Frankie Rodriguez, who like Nathan will be a free agent after 2008.
Mike Scioscia, meanwhile, told the press this afternoon what I’ve been saying for months — all the Angels really need to do is stay healthy, and they’ll have that "big bat" everyone wants.
Asked about the club’s inability to pry loose Cabrera from the Marlins, Scioscia said, "The cost was much higher to us as to where we were going to be. I think the balance of what they were looking for and what we could give up and still be the type of ballclub we feel we are was just something that couldn’t be met.
"Our offense right now, if nothing else happens, is deep enough to do what we need to do."
Keeping first baseman Casey Kotchman and second baseman Howard Kendrick healthy — injuries cost both players chunks of the 2007 season — "can easily add up to more than one more big bat," Scioscia said.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Oh, wait a minute, I did.
Coming up tomorrow … the Rule 5 Draft. Not many people know there are actually multiple levels of the draft, the commonly known major league version and two minor league phases. In the latter, there’s no requirement to keep the player on a major league roster for a year; the player’s former employer simply gets a cash compensation. Watch BaseballAmerica.com tomorrow for Rule 5 updates.
UPDATE 9:00 PM PST — The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:
The Angels, who have power-hitting infield prospect Brandon Wood, weren’t involved in [Johan] Santana talks as of Wednesday afternoon. But the teams had met to talk about other Los Angeles players. The Twins need a center fielder, and the Angels have two available in Reggie Willits and Gary Matthews Jr.
As I said upstream, Matthews has a no-trade clause.