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12/08/08 10:39 PM EST

Angels could be darkhorse for Peavy

Halos have young talent to offer Padres in trade package

LAS VEGAS -- In spite of the distinct impression left by the Padres that it will be the Cubs or bust in efforts to deal Jake Peavy at the Winter Meetings, a darkhorse still could emerge on the outside.

According to a source familiar with the Angels' thinking, they have not taken themselves out of the Peavy sweepstakes and could make a move by offering the Padres the variety of youthful talent they are seeking for one of the game's premium starting pitchers.

The Angels, who began mapping plans for the meetings late Monday after the arrival of general manager Tony Reagins and manager Mike Scioscia, have devoted most of their offseason attention to efforts to retain first baseman Mark Teixeira, one of the jewels of free agency.

That will remain their highest priority, but they have other needs to fill -- including a starting pitcher with Jon Garland having declined arbitration.

With a history of coming out of nowhere to make megadeals, notably with Vladimir Guerrrero and Torii Hunter, the Angels conceivably could land both Teixeira and Peavy, fortifying their offense while assembling a dominant rotation.

Peavy, who owns the right to approve any trade, has $63 million coming across the next four years. That is well below the bar for elite starters set by Johan Santana and about to be reached or surpassed by free agent CC Sabathia.

The Angels have the resources to put together an enticing package for the Padres with such gifted young talents as shortstops Brandon Wood and Erick Aybar and pitchers Nick Adenhart, Kevin Jepsen and Sean O'Sullivan filling San Diego's primary needs.

While Peavy has made clear his preference for remaining in the National League, the Angels feel they could convince him that Anaheim -- offering a track record of winning and geographical advantages -- is just the place for him to continue throwing fastballs and sliders past hitters. Even if it means keeping the bat in the rack except for Interleague Play.

Peavy hails from Mobile, Ala., and is planning to make his permanent home in Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County, about an hour from Angel Stadium. He loves to hit and run the bases, but there would be a definite lure to remaining so close to home for a devoted father -- with an organization fully committed to winning.

Few clubs in baseball have as many proven athletes in the infield and as many quality pitching prospects as the Angels, who, adding Peavy, would have four All-Stars in 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner Peavy, John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders. Jered Weaver would complete the rotation.

Lackey, 30, would be the oldest of the five. Peavy, 27, has won two NL strikeout titles and two ERA crowns. In 2007, en route to the NL Cy Young Award, he won the pitching triple crown, leading in wins (19), ERA (2.54) and strikeouts (240). Only the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano, with 96 wins, has more than Peavy's 86 in their age group. Zambrano is younger than Peavy by one day.

While there are some concerns about the condition of Peavy's back, the Angels hold him in extremely high regard, the source said. They feel he could be as successful in the American League as he has been in the NL with his overpowering stuff.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.