Halos pondering left-handed options
Club exploring all avenues in pursuit of middle-of-order batter
The Angels, who have remained firm in not pursuing Manny Ramirez, could be considering a move on one of the proven left-handed hitters available in free agency to balance their offense.
But it remains "unlikely," according to general manager Tony Reagins, that club fixture Garret Anderson will return for a 15th season.
"You never say never," Reagins said on Saturday when asked about Anderson, "but I still would term it unlikely."
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, American League West-rival Seattle has had conversations with Scott Boras, Anderson's agent, and the veteran would be a fit in left field replacing Raul Ibanez. The Mariners also are considering one of their former stars, Ken Griffey Jr.
Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn could be in the Angels' plans, according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, but Reagins said he isn't limiting any pursuits to those two big names.
"If you look at the free-agent pool, there are a lot of interesting names still out there," Reagins said. "The question was asked if we'd be interested in any other free agents, and I said we continue to look at opportunities to get better. He ran with those names."
In addition to Anderson, Abreu and Dunn, left-handed hitters still available in free agency include Griffey, Luis Gonzalez, Jim Edmonds, Doug Mientkiewicz and Mark Sweeney.
Right-handed bats are more plentiful: Joe Crede, Juan Encarnacion, Emil Brown, Jay Payton, Rich Aurilia, Nomar Garciaparra, Richie Sexson, Shannon Stewart and Frank Thomas.
Anderson is the Angels' franchise leader in a variety of offensive categories -- including games, hits, extra-base hits and runs batted in -- after 14 seasons with the club.
With Mark Teixeira joining the Yankees' multi-millionaires club and Anderson apparently not returning, the Angels are overloaded with right-handed bats. Re-signing outfielder Juan Rivera has been their lone move on the offensive side.
Switch-hitters Kendry Morales and Gary Matthews Jr. are the only left-handed bats with power on the roster. Matthews, coming off surgery on his left knee, might not be ready to open the season.
In a sluggish market, neither Abreu nor Dunn appears to be getting multiyear offers that would satisfy their initial desires. Both would provide proven run production along with high on-base percentage numbers, and both, the FOXSports report suggested, might settle for a one-year deal in the $8 million range as Spring Training approaches and the market remains crowded.
Anderson, 36, also could settle for a one-year deal if that's all that is offered.
Dunn, 29, is a corner outfielder who also has played some first base. With at least 40 homers and averaging 100 RBIs in the past five seasons, he'd offer protection for Vladimir Guerrero as a designated hitter and part-time outfielder.
Abreu, who will be 35 on March 11, has driven in at least 100 runs for six consecutive seasons (with the Phillies and Yankees). He is a corner outfielder with more speed than Dunn but less power. Both are highly selective hitters along the lines of Teixeira.
Anderson had a productive 2008 season, finishing second on the club in RBIs with 84 while batting .293, and is generally considered a superior defender as a corner outfielder to Dunn or Abreu.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.