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Rivera re-signs; Anderson out?

December 20, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna

While awaiting closure on the Mark Teixeira saga, the Angels sealed a deal with another of their free agents Friday, signing Juan Rivera to a three-year, $12.75-million contract that could signal the end of veteran outfielder Garret Anderson's 14-year Angels career.

Rivera, 30, gives the Angels three players -- Vladimir Guerrero and Gary Matthews Jr. are the others -- who can rotate through the corner outfield and designated hitter spots. Torii Hunter is the team's center fielder.

That would appear to eliminate the need for Anderson, who holds franchise records for games, runs, hits, doubles, total bases and runs batted in, but who became a free agent in November after the Angels bought out his $14-million 2009 option for $3 million.

"I would say we'd never say never," General Manager Tony Reagins said, when asked if there was any chance of Anderson returning.

Signing Rivera, who will make $3.25 million in 2009, $4.25 million in 2010 and $5.25 million in 2011, "will have no bearing on what we're trying to accomplish going forward, either via trades or free agency," Reagins added.

The Angels' primary focus is on Teixeira, the free-agent first baseman who was thought to be nearing a deal with Boston on Thursday night, only to have the Red Sox, perceived front-runners in the Teixeira sweepstakes, abruptly pull out of negotiations.

Boston's primary owner John Henry, Chief Executive Larry Lucchino and GM Theo Epstein traveled to Teixeira's Westlake, Texas, home to meet the player and his agent, Scott Boras, and were told that their offer, believed to be for eight years and between $165 million and $175 million, was short.

In a subsequent e-mail to the media, Henry said: "We met with Mr. Teixeira and were very much impressed with him. After hearing about his other offers, however, it seems clear that we are not going to be a factor."

The general feeling around baseball Friday was that Henry's statement was a negotiating ploy, that the Red Sox are still very much interested in signing Teixeira and are essentially calling Boras' bluff.

If Teixeira has a better offer, it is likely from the 102-loss Washington Nationals, who were reportedly told by Boras that their offer would have to outdistance the others -- probably by a significant amount -- if they expect Teixeira to sign with them.

The Red Sox, who have a history of contentious negotiations with Boras -- see Daisuke Matsuzaka (2006), Johnny Damon (2005), Alex Rodriguez (2003) -- don't believe Teixeira wants to sign with the Nationals, and they're not about to raise their offer to compete with them.

Reagins has confirmed that the Angels made an eight-year offer to Teixeira. Though financial terms were not disclosed, it is believed to be worth at least $160 million.

The Nationals' last reported offer to Teixeira was for eight years, $160 million, and the Baltimore Orioles have reportedly made a seven-year offer, which is believed to be worth $150 million.

The Angels, according to a source familiar with their thinking, have no intention of raising their offer.

"There has been no change in our position from 24 hours ago; everything is the same," Reagins said Friday, when asked if he had been in contact with Teixeira's camp. "I'll leave it at that."

The only certainty for the Angels on Friday was that Rivera, a solid outfielder who has provided considerable pop over the last four years, would remain with the team.

After missing most of the 2007 season because of a broken leg suffered in a winter-league game in Venezuela, Rivera batted .246 with 12 home runs, 13 doubles and 45 RBIs in 89 games in 2008.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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