CHANDLER, Ariz. — Spring training is the season for speculation and idle gossip, but even by traditional spring training standards, the rumors involving Reggie Jackson's status and future have been particularly creative.
There was the great designated-hitter swap, which had Reggie returning to pinstripes, George Steinbrenner and the Big Apple in exchange for Don Baylor, the former Angel captain.
There was Al Rosen's bid to bring Reggie back to the Bay Area, which would require Jackson, at age 40, to only adapt to a new league of hard-throwing pitchers, play outfield on the Candlestick Park tundra and finish his career with a Giant team going nowhere fast--except maybe Denver.
There has even been talk of Jackson's going to Milwaukee, where Reggie could become the straw that stirs the Brewers' malt liquor.
None of the rumors, however, have transcended the hot-air stage, and the only reality is that Jackson is still unhappy about his situation with the Angels.
Tuesday, his agent, Gary Walker, publicly discussed some concerns that Jackson has addressed only privately.
"Reggie is concerned about the way the Angels treated Rod Carew and Tommy John," Walker said, referring to the two 40-year-olds the Angels released in 1985. "The Carew thing is weighing heavily on his mind. He feels that Rodney, being who he is and what he has done, deserved a better fate.
"Reggie thinks about it and starts to interpolate, 'Well, that could be me.' He doesn't want to be shuffled around. That's a little demeaning."
According to Walker, Jackson wants to go out the way Carl Yastzremski did, announcing his final year in advance and then making one last tour of the American League. "He wants to be acknowledged for who he is and what he's done," Walker said.
Jackson wants 1987 to be his final year. He wants an option year on his current Angel contract, which has only been renewed for 1986.
The Angel line? We'll take one year at a time.
Walker said he is optimistic that an agreement over an option year can be reached with the Angels. If not? Walker indicated that San Francisco is not high on the list of alternatives.
"Reggie and Al Rosen go back to their New York days, but he wants to play for the Angels," Walker said. "Continuity is worth something, as the Giants discovered when they traded away Willie McCovey and Willie Mays.
"Reggie has an outside shot at 600 home runs (he has 530). I'm sure he's thought about it. And Candlestick Park is hardly the place to go to try for 600 home runs. Go there and he might still be at 540 in September."
Milwaukee General Manager Harry Dalton confirmed that he inquired about Jackson about 10 days ago but has made no offer.
"I was talking to Mike Port (the Angel general manager) about a number of things and asked him out of curiosity what he was going to do with Reggie," Dalton said. "He said they hadn't made a decision yet, but they would probably keep him. I told him if that they decided otherwise, we might be interested in talking.
"It's kind of an interesting supposition as to what he might mean to a club for a year, though it is counter to what we're trying to do (rebuild with their own young players).
"That's where we left it. There's been nothing since."
The Angels lost their fourth straight exhibition game Tuesday, this one 9-5 to the Milwaukee Brewers on David Green's ninth-inning grand slam.