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11/13/08 1:50 AM EST
Angels owner prepared to lose K-Rod
Moreno says club will focus effort on Teixeira, consider Manny
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
The Angels seem to have closed the door on re-signing All-Star free-agent closer Francisco Rodriguez and opened it for Manny Ramirez, owner Arte Moreno said in a report Wednesday. "We're turning the page on this one," the Los Angeles Times quoted Moreno as saying about K-Rod in an interview with local radio station AM-830 before the Angels Baseball Foundation Golf Classic in Newport Beach, Calif. "Believe it or not, we really spent a lot of time and effort trying to re-sign Frankie. There were six different offers on the table at different times, and this time last year, we thought we had him signed. Then [Mariano] Rivera got his deal. "I'm not one of these never-never people, but I think as a whole, it's time to turn the page and move forward and get to things we need to do." The Angels are also in the process of trying to re-sign free agent Mark Teixeira and if that doesn't happen they may turn their sights to Ramirez, the Dodgers free-agent, Moreno said. "He single-handedly took L.A. to the promised land," Moreno told the radio station about the former Red Sox left fielder whose Dodgers lost to the Phillies in a five-game National League Championship Series. "He did a heck of a job, he hit great, he was a fan favorite, he did a great job with their young players. At the end of the day, you want people who can hit, and he may be one of the top right-handed hitters ever." Rodriguez set a single-season Major League record with 62 saves last season. He also added a 2-3 record and a 2.24 ERA. The Angels, though, lost a first-round playoff series to the Red Sox for the second consecutive postseason, and by then K-Rod seemed to be out of gas. After the 2007 season, the Angels tendered Rodriguez a three-year, $34 million offer, but it was rejected after the Yankees signed Rivera to a three-year, $45 million deal. The Angels join the Cardinals, Mets, Rays and Indians in searching for closers. Trevor Hoffman of the Padres, Brian Fuentes of the Rockies and Brandon Lyon of the D-backs are among the closers on the free-agent market, which opens in earnest on Friday. Moreno said the Angels would offer Rodriguez arbitration on Dec. 1 to reserve the possibility of compensatory first-round and sandwich picks in next year's First-Year Player Draft. He also said the Angels would undoubtedly go into the market for another closer via trade or free agency. Teixeira batted .358 with a .449 on-base percentage, 13 homers and 43 RBIs for the Angels after a July 29 trade from Atlanta. If he signs elsewhere, Manny, who hit .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs in 53 games after a July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline deal with the Red Sox, could fit in nicely. "That's a question for Mike and Tony," Moreno said, referring to Angels manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Tony Reagins. "For us, Manny hits. He's a clutch guy. "He did a great job with Boston, and he did a great job with the Dodgers. Some people just hit, whether they're 30, 32 or 37. And I think he's better fitted for the American League because we have the designated hitter."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.