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Angels comfortable with results12/13/2004 5:57 PM ET
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- The Angels came into the Winter Meetings with a specific plan in mind, and as the hordes of grizzled baseball lifers filed into taxis outside the Anaheim Marriott, they were still working to put all the pieces of that plan together.
They quickly took care of their need for a center fielder by passing on the possibility of landing top free agent Carlos Beltran, opting instead for 39-year-old Steve Finley, who will provide Gold Glove defense, offensive pop and the ability to fit into the Angels' situational attack from anywhere in the top five spots in the lineup.
General manager Bill Stoneman spent a good portion of the remaining three days smiling about what he said were likely signings of a starting pitcher and a reliever. He also said that the Angels might have a few more moves up their sleeves, although nothing official got done during the meetings other than the Finley deal.
Deals done: Signed Finley to a two-year, $13 million contract with an option for a third year at $7 million and a $1 million buyout.
Rule 5 activity: Lost RHP Phil Wilson from Single-A Rancho Cucamonga to the Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Devil Rays) in the Double-A phase. The Angels received $4,000 as compensation.
Goals accomplished: The Angels made a major move toward completing their 2005 roster and creating payroll flexibility for upcoming moves by signing Finley, who will move into center field, allow Garret Anderson to return to his more comfortable position of left field, and allow Chone Figgins to shift seamlessly to second base while Adam Kennedy recovers from knee surgery.
Finley's relatively modest salary also gives the Angels room to improve the rest of the club, which was weakened by the departure of free agent third baseman Troy Glaus and closer Troy Percival. The Angels went into the meetings looking for help in starting pitching, the bullpen and possibly the infield.
Unfinished business: The Angels remain the favorites to land starter Matt Clement, although at least five teams are still talking to Clement's agent, Barry Axelrod. But Stoneman has said for the last three days that he's confident he'll sign a particular starter and all published reports indicate that starter is Clement.
Elsewhere, the Angels are close to signing right-handed reliever Esteban Yan to a two-year, $3 million contract and are believed to be in the mix for left-handed relievers Ron Villone and Steve Kline. They're also possibly discussing a trade for Milwaukee Brewers utilityman Keith Ginter.
GM's bottom line: "We're very confident that we're going to get guys we like," Stoneman said. "We still feel good in terms of getting some things done."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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