Perhaps it's still little more than a dream, and maybe it's foolish for the Angels to envision it, but the possibility is intriguing.
New York Yankee starter Jim Abbott, who probably will file for free agency in a year, indeed could be rejoining the Angel rotation just in time for the 1995 season.
While the Chicago White Sox moved closer Wednesday night to capturing the American League West title--defeating the Angels, 1-0, in front of 19,641 at Anaheim Stadium behind Wilson Alvarez's sixth consecutive victory--Scott Boras, Abbott's agent, considered the possibility.
It was a difference of $1.5 million that stopped Abbott from signing a four-year, $16-million deal with the Angels last winter. Yet, with Angel General Manager Whitey Herzog signing pitcher Joe Magrane this week to a three-year contract potentially worth $9.3 million, Boras wonders if Abbott might still be an Angel if Herzog had been in charge all along.
"I couldn't help but think about it when I saw Magrane's contract," Boras said. "We're talking about a guy (Magrane) who was released a month ago, and look what he got. It just shows you how much of a pitching shortage there is.
"If Jim wants to come back, and that's what makes him happy, I'd be all for it."
Abbott, traded in December to the Yankees for first baseman J.T. Snow and pitchers Russ Springer and Jerry Nielsen, has struggled in his first season away from the Angels, despite his recent no-hitter. He is 10-13 with a 4.42 earned-run average, and his friends say it's highly unlikely that he will sign a multiyear contract with the Yankees.
The Angels certainly could have used another starter in their rotation this season, which would have made more games like Wednesday's tolerable. Chuck Finley (15-13) pitched a four-hitter, giving up his only run on Robin Ventura's sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, but lost for the seventh time in his league-high 12 complete games. Finley and Mark Langston (15-9) are the only starters on the team who have won more than four games this season.
Alvarez (14-8) gave up only five hits in eight innings and extended his scoreless streak to 24 innings. He has a 1.37 ERA in his six starts since returning Aug. 24 from triple-A Nashville.