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Ramirez isn't part of plan for the Angels

Reagins says they won't pursue free agent because they want to 'give our kids' the chance to play.

December 24, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna

He is the slugger who could elevate the Angels into a class with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, a difference-maker who could be acquired without giving up any top prospects, and the Angels have absolutely zero interest in him.

General Manager Tony Reagins made that point perfectly clear Tuesday when, in the wake of the team's failed attempt to retain first baseman Mark Teixeira, he was asked if there was any chance of signing free-agent left fielder Manny Ramirez.

"Manny will not be an Angel," Reagins said. "We're going to give our kids an opportunity to play. We signed [outfielder] Juan Rivera to a three-year deal, and we think, given at-bats, he can be a productive player.

"With Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Matthews Jr. and Reggie Willits, our outfield is intact. It will not happen. We are not going to sign Manny Ramirez. End of story."

There has been speculation that agent Scott Boras, who represents Teixeira and Ramirez, would try to start a bidding war between the Dodgers and Angels for Ramirez once Teixeira, who agreed to an eight-year, $180-million deal with the New York Yankees on Tuesday, signed.

But despite glowing comments from Manager Mike Scioscia and owner Arte Moreno about Ramirez in recent weeks, Reagins says the Angels will pass.

The GM also said it is "not likely" the Angels will retain veteran outfielder Garret Anderson, and that he was not pursuing free-agent outfielders such as Adam Dunn, Bobby Abreu or Pat Burrell.

If the Angels upgrade their offense, it will most likely come via trade. The plan for now is to go with 25-year-old switch-hitter Kendry Morales, a .249 hitter in 377 career big league at-bats, with 12 home runs and 45 runs batted in, at first base.

"We feel good about what he can do with considerable at-bats and good health," Reagins said. "At some point our young guys have to get that opportunity."

The Angels offered Teixeira an eight-year, $160-million deal Dec. 9 and never increased their bid before pulling it from the table Sunday.

"It became evident, both in words and actions, that our offer wasn't going to get it done," Reagins said. "We thought our offer was more than fair. It was probably the fifth-highest in the history of the game.

"But we came to the realization this wasn't going to happen, and we had to move forward. I'm not going to get into specifics. It just became clear that being an Angel wasn't a priority for that camp."

Hunter said he spoke to Teixeira on Saturday and had a feeling the switch-hitter would be moving on.

"He said he really wanted to come back, but he needed the Angels to step up," Hunter said. "I didn't know what he meant, because I thought eight years and $160 million was a pretty impressive offer."


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