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Reagins: Angels are a different club and "very good"

The Angels have lost ace John Lackey and leadoff batter Chone Figgins this winter. They have replaced one designated hitter with another -- Hideki Matsui in, Vladimir Guerrero out -- and have added bullpen depth in former Detroit Tigers closer Fernando Rodney.

Angels_logo Are the Angels a better club now than they were at the end of last season?

"I feel like we're a different club," General Manager Tony Reagins said today. "I think we're a very good club. I think it will remain to be seen if we're a better club.

"We're very talented. We've got depth in the bullpen. Our starting pitching is fine. Our lineup is deep. I think we'll do OK."

The Angels' rotation currently consists of Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, Scott Kazmir, Ervin Santana and Matt Palmer. Although Palmer made for a great story last year -- he made his major league debut at 30 and went 11-2 with a 3.93 ERA -- he was in his eighth professional season.

Reagins said the Angels could bring in a veteran starter to fill the fifth spot, or at least to compete with Palmer. The Angels would be shopping in a buyer's market and could look at such arms as Erik Bedard, Doug Davis and Jon Garland.

"We're still looking at opportunities," Reagins said. "I won't say we're completely done yet.

"We're satisfied with our club as it stands. We have four very good starters, and Matt Palmer did a good job for us last year."

The Angels have eight players eligible for salary arbitration; Reagins would not say whether the club is negotiating a long-term contract with any of them. The players: Saunders; Weaver; infielders Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and Maicer Izturis; catchers Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli; and outfielder Reggie Willits.

In the absence of agreements before then, those players and the Angels will exchange proposed salaries next Tuesday.

-- Bill Shaikin in Phoenix

 
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