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Angels Want Leyland, but Fregosi Is Available

October 01, 1996|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The list of Angel managerial candidates grew by two with the firing Monday of Philadelphia's Jim Fregosi and Boston's Kevin Kennedy, but the Angels are focusing their attention on Jim Leyland, whose tenure as Pittsburgh's manager ended Sunday.

Leyland confirmed Monday that he had received an offer from the Florida Marlins but a baseball insider said the Angels had "made a very aggressive offer" for Leyland on Monday night, and the Chicago White Sox and Red Sox are expected to make offers today.

Leyland, who will probably command a salary of at least $1 million a year and a contract in the three-year range,

said he hopes to decide within the next two or three days.

Leyland may be leaning heavily toward Florida, where he is good friends with General Manager Dave Dombrowski, but the Angels are optimistic they will have a shot at landing him.

"I'm not going to fly all over the country for interviews," Leyland said. "I'm tired. Everyone's tired. I've told teams if they want to make a proposal, just do it, and if it looks like it might go further, we will."

Leyland, 51, managed the Pirates for 11 seasons and led them to three consecutive East Division championships, from 1990-92. He was twice named the National League manager of the year. Leyland, who walked away from a contract that would have paid him $1 million a year through 2000, has said he will seek a job with a team that can contend.

Fregosi will receive his 1997 salary of $500,000 from the Phillies, but he made it clear Monday that he does not plan to spend a season on the golf course.

"I definitely would like to manage again," said Fregosi, who managed the Angels to a 237-249 record from 1978-81. "If the right opportunity becomes available, I certainly would sit down and talk."

Fregosi said he hasn't contacted the Angels, but a source said he called team officials Monday.

Fregosi, who played shortstop for the Angels from 1961-71, led the Angels to their first postseason appearance in 1979. The team won the West Division title, then lost to Baltimore in the American League championship series.

Fregosi managed the Phillies to the 1993 World Series.

Kennedy, who lives in Tarzana during the off-season, expressed interest in the Angel job, saying, "Yeah, it's something I'd look into."

He is owed $500,000 for the year remaining on his contract, plus a $200,000 buyout for the 1998 season.

Kennedy's bench coach in Boston, Tim Johnson, is traveling to Anaheim to interview for the Angel job this week, and Kennedy said he would consider working for Johnson if he got the job.

"If it's the right situation, I would consider things, but you've got to be happy with what you do," said Kennedy, who was 171-135 with the Red Sox and led them to the East Division championship in 1995. "I'm aware of certain teams that are looking to turn their organizations around. I don't know where I'll go, but I would like to manage again, obviously."

Johnson, who grew up in the Los Angeles area, will probably be considered for the Boston job, but he said Monday he would "rather pursue the Angel job--that's what I'm going for right now."

The Angels have also asked for and received permission from the Red Sox to speak to Ken Macha, manager of the organization's double-A Trenton (N.J.) affiliate. Macha was the Angels' third base coach from 1992-94.

Times staff writer Chris Foster contributed to this story.

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