The Angels are one of three teams negotiating with designated hitter Darren Daulton, who is reconsidering his plan to retire.
Daulton, who will turn 36 in January, said, "I don't think I have the desire to play anymore," after helping the Florida Marlins win the World Series in October. But a baseball source said that Daulton is "now leaning toward playing."
His wife, Nicole, is in favor of returning, as is Gary Hughes, the Florida scouting director, who is encouraging Daulton to play another year because of his performance in the World Series.
Daulton told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "I have not made a decision. I told them to give me until Christmas . . . I know I can still play."
The Angels would like him to play in Anaheim, where he would fill some big holes in the lineup. They have been "pretty aggressive" in their pursuit of Daulton, a baseball source said. The Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals are also negotiating with him.
Daulton would be the full-time designated hitter the Angels do not now have. He would be another left-handed batter--the team just lost Jack Howell to free agency--and provide some power. He could also spell Darin Erstad at first base.
The Angels have lost out in two bids to find a designated hitter already. They talked with Paul Molitor and Joe Carter earlier, but were not able to match other offers. Molitor signed with the Minnesota Twins for $4.15 million. Carter signed with the Baltimore Orioles for $3.3 million.
In Anaheim, Daulton would be reunited with former Philadelphia Phillie teammate Dave Hollins and coach Larry Bowa. The three were together in 1993, when the Phillies reached the World Series.
Daulton hit .263 with 14 home runs and 63 runs batted in last season. He was acquired by Florida from Philadelphia in a midseason deal and played a key role in the Marlins' victory over the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.
He went seven for 18 (.289) with two doubles, a home run, two RBIs and seven runs scored. His performance is a reason he is reconsidering retirement.
"Obviously, that has a lot to do with it," Daulton said. "But I haven't made a decision yet. There are some intangibles involved. I won't just play for nothing and criteria has been set."
Daulton made $5.25 million last season, but may accept less to continue playing.
The Angels hired George Hendrick as their first base coach Thursday. Hendrick replaces Dave Parker, who replaced Hendrick as the St. Louis Cardinals' hitting coach.
Hendrick, 48, played on the Angels' last division championship team in 1986. He hit .278 with 267 home runs during an 18-year career that included four All-Star appearances and participation on World Series champions in Oakland in 1972 and St. Louis in 1982.