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October 29, 2001|Mike DiGiovanna

Angel first baseman Mo Vaughn, under investigation for tampering after expressing a strong desire to return to the Red Sox, has fired long-time agent Tom Reich and retained agent Jeff Moorad, another indication Vaughn is trying to orchestrate a trade out of Anaheim.

Moorad was the agent who engineered the late-1999 deal that moved one of his clients, disgruntled outfielder Raul Mondesi, from the Dodgers to the Toronto Blue Jays for another of his clients, outfielder Shawn Green.

Then-Blue Jay General Manager Gord Ash initially balked at the trade because he didn't believe he would be getting equal value for Green, but Moorad helped convince Ash that Mondesi was a comparable player.

Moorad also got Toronto to exercise the final two option years of Mondesi's contract, a move that appeased Mondesi. Moorad then got Dodger Chairman Bob Daly to agree to include a no-trade clause in Green's six-year, $84-million deal with the Dodgers.

Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman, who has been unsuccessful in attempts to arrange a meeting with Vaughn to discuss his trade desires, spoke briefly with Moorad a few days ago, but no further talks were planned.

"As of now, I don't have any indication of anything," Stoneman said, when asked if Vaughn's switch in representation signaled another attempt to expedite his departure.

"Rather than speculate, let's sit down with them and see what they want."

The Angels would like to accommodate Vaughn, but they owe him $50 million over the final three years of his contract, a substantial sum that will make it very difficult to deal an overweight first baseman who missed the entire 2001 season because of surgery to repair a ruptured biceps tendon.

Until Vaughn proves in spring training that he's healthy, in shape and capable of producing 35-homer, 110-RBI seasons, no team is expected to be interested in him.

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