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Angels Find Crack in Their Plan to Deal Away Magrane : Baseball: Injuries the pitcher sustained in late October car accident lessen his value on the trade market.

November 14, 1994|BOB NIGHTENGALE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Angels, rebuffed in their efforts to buy out pitcher Joe Magrane's contract, have virtually no chance of trading him.

Magrane suffered a cracked rib and cuts on his pitching arm in a one-car accident in October near his home in St. Louis, dispelling thoughts about winter ball.

"We were hoping to get him pitching this winter in the Dominican or Venezuela," Angel Manager Marcel Lachemann said Sunday. "It's something we thought he needed.

"But the accident took care of that."

The accident occurred in late October, according to Magrane's relatives, when Magrane and his wife, Renee, crashed while driving on a road under construction. There was a drop-off they failed to see, causing the car to go out of control.

Magrane's injuries did not require surgery, and he is expected to resume workouts in January. Renee suffered bruised ribs and whiplash.

It simply was the latest in a series of setbacks to Magrane since signing a two-year, $3.5 million contract last September.

Magrane, who missed the first month of the season recovering from arthroscopic elbow surgery, finished the year with a 2-6 record and 7.30 earned-run average.

He made only 11 starts before being yanked out of the rotation July 2, and spent the rest of the season in the bullpen.

He had a 10.38 ERA as a reliever, and was never used in a game the Angels won.

The Angels recently offered a buyout settlement that would enable him to become a free agent, but Magrane was not interested.

The Angels are obligated to pay Magrane $1.5 million in 1995, and could be responsible for another $1.5 million in 1996.

There's a clause in Magrane's contract that requires the Angels to pick up his 1996 option if he is not on the disabled list at the end of the 1995 season.

The Angels can avert the possibility only by trading or releasing him.

If Magrane is released, the Angels would be obligated to pay a $500,000 buyout for 1996.

"We're going to try to make this work," Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi said. "We'll just have to see what happens."

Said Lachemann: "It's somewhat of a long shot, but we'll give him an opportunity.

"But I give him a lot of credit. He could have been bitching and moaning about the way he was used this year, but he never complained. He still wants to prove something."

In other news Sunday, the Minnesota Twins told the Angels that bullpen stopper Rick Aguilera is off the trading block.

Twin General Manager Terry Ryan has decided to keep Aguilera as long as the Twins stay in the race in 1995.

The Angels attempted to acquire Aguilera before the July 31 trading deadline in a deal that would have sent pitcher Andrew Lorraine, first baseman J.T. Snow, minor league reliever Troy Percival and two prospects to Minnesota.

Ryan says he has no interest in resurrecting the trade, nor in dealing right-handed starter Scott Erickson to the Angels.

"Ideally, we'd still like to get a closer," Lachemann said, "but I think we realize it's not going to be easy. Percival could fill that role one day, but I'd like to ease him into that."

Also Sunday, former Angel third-base coach Ken Macha has been offered the job to become manager of the Boston Red Sox's double-A team in Trenton, N.J.

Former Angel first-base coach Max Oliveras, who also was fired by Lachemann in October, is a finalist to become the Chicago Cubs' bullpen coach.

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