Looking to improve an already solid bullpen, the Angels have contacted the agent for Eddie Guardado and asked whether the All-Star closer would consider joining the team as a set-up man.
Guardado, 33, a free agent who lives in Tustin, saved 86 games for the Minnesota Twins over the last two seasons. Even before the Angels called, agent Kevin Kohler said Guardado had instructed him to talk with the team about a possible job.
"If he was going to set up for somebody, he'd set up for the Angels," Kohler said Wednesday. "Right now, it's hard to see how it would fit. They have interest, and so do we, but a lot of things would have to happen."
The Twins hope to sign Guardado before Dec. 7, when they would have to choose between offering salary arbitration or losing negotiating rights. Kohler said he anticipates the Twins would not offer arbitration, at which point other teams could sign Guardado without forfeiting a draft pick in compensation.
The left-hander has attracted interest from several teams but has no offers, Kohler said, with the market for closers expected to crystallize when free agent Keith Foulke signs. Guardado would prefer to remain a closer, and the Angels do not pay set-up men anywhere near the $2.7 million he earned last season. They are not believed to be shopping closer Troy Percival, who will make $7.5 million next season.
The Angels finished last season without a left-handed reliever.
The Angels were not thrilled to learn that reliever Francisco Rodriguez is playing winter ball and not happy to learn about it from Kelvim Escobar. Both pitchers live in Caracas, Venezuela.
As Escobar signed with the Angels on Monday, he said Rodriguez is dominating the Venezuelan winter league.
The Angels had suggested Rodriguez skip winter ball, since he pitched 86 innings during his first full major league season and had experienced occasional arm trouble during his minor league career. General Manager Bill Stoneman said he would investigate but acknowledged the Angels cannot prevent Rodriguez from playing.