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Angels could be in for draft haul

December 2, 2008 | 11:45 am

Nick Adenhart, left, gets instruction from minor league pitching coach Ken Patterson.

The Angels haven't had a first-round draft choice in three of the last four years. They could end up with three -- or more -- this year.

By deciding to offer salary arbitration to Mark Teixeira, Francisco Rodriguez and Darren Oliver, the Angels assured themselves of two premium draft picks for each of the three players who sign with another team. They also offered arbitration to Jon Garland, assuring themselves another draft pick if he signs with another team.

The Angels spent the least of any major league team to sign players in the top 10 rounds of last year's draft because they forfeited their first-round pick when they signed Torii Hunter and failed to sign two of their top five selections.

The extra picks should enable them to replenish a farm system that has slipped in recent years, with Baseball America ranking the Angels' system as No. 1 in 2005 and No. 10 in 2008. The Angels regularly deliver pitchers, catchers and infielders to the major leagues, but they have not produced a slugger since Troy Glaus in 1998 or an everyday outfielder since Darin Erstad in 1996.

Baseball America issued its annual ranking of the Angels' top 10 prospects today, with Nick Adenhart at No. 1 and seven pitchers among the top 10.

Of course, the Angels don't get extra draft picks for any player they sign after offering arbitration. Rodriguez turned down a three-year, $34-million offer from the Angels last year, and ESPN's Buster Olney writes this morning that the economy might have so spooked teams and that Rodriguez might have trouble getting a better offer this year:

Three months ago, if you had told anyone that Francisco Rodriguez might actually have to consider a three-year deal for something in the range of $10-11 million a year, you would have been deemed insane. But that might turn out to be the case, some executives believe.

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: Angels prospect Nick Adenhart, left, gets instruction from minor league pitching coach Ken Patterson during a spring training workout on Feb. 22. Credit: Eric Risberg / Associated Press