Scioscia, Reagins talk Matthews trade, Pineiro signing
The Angels haven't officially announced the signing of Joel Pineiro, but that didn't stop Manager Mike Scioscia from discussing it during a conference call this morning, following the trade of outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. to the New York Mets for reliever Brian Stokes.
"It definitely gives us a little more balance," Scioscia said of the trade. "Depth, moving forward, is something we needed to reestablish. Plus, with the addition of Joel Pineiro, we have more of that depth. We have the ability to pitch better than we did last year. We're going to need to."
The Angels intended the discussion to focus on the trade. The deal appears to leave the Angels perilously thin in the outfield. If Hideki Matsui cannot play the field, that leaves Reggie Willits as the lone backup to Gold Glover Torii Hunter and the not-so-golden gloves of Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera.
That could leave an opening for Terry Evans or Chris Pettit to make the club, but General Manager Tony Reagins said he could afford to sign a free agent as well. Free-agent outfielders include such veterans as Eric Byrnes, Reed Johnson, Jonny Gomes and Randy Winn, as well as Angels old-timers Garret Anderson and Darin Erstad.
"We have some talented outfielders in the organization," Reagins said. "I have financial flexibility if I need to do something during spring training, during the season or at the trade deadline. I have no limitations, as far as that is concerned, to do what we need to do to win the World Series."
Reagins said he "absolutely" would have been prepared to go to spring training with the disgruntled Matthews on the roster had the Angels not been able to acquire a useful player in return. Even then, the Angels had to pick up almost all of the $23.5 million left on Matthews' $50-million contract.
Scioscia saluted Matthews for the way in which he handled his benching.
"Although he didn't agree with it, he was as professional as anybody I've ever been around in handling it," Scioscia said.
-- Bill Shaikin
Photo: Mike Scioscia. Credit: Charles Krupa / Associated Press