Angels are not 'mystery team' in Cliff Lee derby and do not appear in hot pursuit of a closer
General Manager Tony Reagins squelched any speculation that the Angels are the so-called "mystery team" that has, according to several reports, offered free-agent pitcher Cliff Lee a seven-year contract.
While Reagins said Tuesday that he has had "substantive" talks with agents about high-profile players, he has not made any formal contract offers to players such as Lee, Carl Crawford, Adrian Beltre or Rafael Soriano.
"The first I heard of that was today," Reagins said of the Lee speculation. "I take it for what it is -- a rumor. Our club is mentioned with a lot of free agents because of our payroll. People in the media and in the industry think it wouldn't be a wild stretch that we'd be involved in high-profile guys."
Both Reagins and Manager Mike Scioscia also downplayed an industry perception that they are in heavy pursuit of Soriano, the Tampa Bay closer who led the American League with 45 saves last season.
"No, I don't see it as a need," Scioscia said, when asked about pursuing a closer from the outside. "I think that there are guys out there that sure can make us better. But I think there are some other areas to right. If you're asking what areas we need, the offensive side of our game needs addressing. There are some guys that can make us better, but I wouldn't say that there is a glaring need right now."
Asked if he was OK with the team's in-house closing options, specifically Fernando Rodney, who struggled in September after replacing Brian Fuentes, Reagins said, "Rodney is capable. He's shown he can close. Obviously, he didn't pitch to the level we expected last year, but in Detroit, he showed he can close. Our expectation is he will bounce back and do what he's capable of. He's got to step up his game and get back to doing what he does best."
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Photo: Cliff Lee. Credit: Richard W. Rodriguez / MCT