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Angels still playing waiting game with Teixeira

Tony Reagins

General Manager Tony Reagins said the market for Mark Teixeira is “no more defined” today than it was a week ago, and that the Angels still have not made a formal contract offer to the first baseman who is one of baseball’s most coveted free agents.

When does Reagins expect negotiations for Teixeira, who hit .358 with a .449 on-base percentage, 13 homers and 43 runs batted in for the Angels after a July 29 trade from Atlanta, to heat up?

“At the winter meetings, or around that time period,” Reagins said, referring to baseball’s annual gathering, Dec. 8-11 in Las Vegas. “There should be some activity there. In these initial days, we’re trying to see how the market shapes up, and we’ll get more aggressive as it develops.”

That market appears to be developing slowly but surely. The Boston Red Sox are believed to have made an offer for Teixeira, and the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals have indicated they have serious interest.

Mark Teixeira The Angels have targeted Teixeira as their top priority, but their strategy appears to be to wait until several teams have made formal offers, then make Teixeira a very aggressive offer with a firm deadline for him to accept or reject it.

There has been speculation Teixeira is seeking a deal in the 10-year, $200-million range. The Angels are willing to pay Teixeira $20 million a year, but they would prefer a five- or six-year contract.

One development working in the Angels’ favor: The New York Yankees acquired first baseman Nick Swisher from the Chicago White Sox and apparently won’t enter the Teixeira sweepstakes.

Many of the Angels’ other winter decisions — whether to re-sign free-agent outfielders Garret Anderson and Juan Rivera, closer Francisco Rodriguez and starter Jon Garland — hinge on Teixeira, so the sooner they get an answer from the slugger, the better.

If they are unable to retain Teixeira, and Anderson and Rivera sign elsewhere, the Angels could pursue free-agent left fielder Manny Ramirez.

“We understand that the baseball world isn’t going to stop because we haven’t made a decision on a certain transaction,” Reagins said.

The Angels are expected to bid on free-agent starter C.C. Sabathia, but according to a source familiar with the team’s thinking, the Angels don’t believe they’ll have to match the Yankees’ reported six-year, $140-million offer to lure the veteran left-hander.

Reagins wouldn’t say if the Angels would pursue free agent starters A.J. Burnett or Derek Lowe, but he did say that “there are pitchers on the market that are intriguing.”

The agent for Rodriguez, who set a major league record with 62 saves, said he is in the process of gathering medical reports and distributing them to teams interested in the right-hander, who is seeking a deal of at least four years for up to $15 million a year.

Paul Kinzer, who represents Rodriguez, said four teams, including the New York Mets, have shown serious interest, but none has made a formal offer. The Angels remain open to the idea of Rodriguez returning.

“Everything is on hold until all the teams can look at the medical reports,” Kinzer said. “Nothing has changed.”

-- Mike DiGiovanna

Photo (top): Tony Reagins, the Angels' general manager. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Photo (inset): Mark Teixeira Credit: Elsa / Getty Images

 
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