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Angels push hard but fail to get Roy Halladay, Heath Bell

Talks 'went right up to the deadline,' GM Tony Reagins says. The potential deal for Halladay reportedly involved left-hander Joe Saunders and at least three other players.

August 01, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

MINNEAPOLIS — Angels General Manager Tony Reagins went down swinging Friday, going right up to the 1 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline in a furious effort to acquire star pitcher Roy Halladay from Toronto and closer Heath Bell from San Diego.

It wasn't much consolation for the Angels, who remain at least one dominant starter and one shut-down reliever away from a championship-caliber pitching staff.

"What's that matter?" ace John Lackey said, when told the Angels came up short in their push for Halladay and Bell. "I'm sure they had a lot of things going today. . . . I was surprised we didn't get a pitcher. I thought we'd get an arm.

"I kind of doubted we could get Halladay; I figured the asking price was too high. I thought we might get a guy who could eat up some innings."

Center fielder Torii Hunter, who could be activated off the disabled list along with slugger Vladimir Guerrero next week, was not disappointed that the Angels failed to bolster their team.

"What we have I think will work out fine," Hunter said. "We have some injured guys coming back, and if a couple of guys step up in the rotation and bullpen, we have all we need.

"It's always good to get someone new to pump up the team, like we did with [Mark] Teixeira last season. It would have been great to get a Halladay or Bell, but I think we have what it takes."

A deal for Halladay reportedly would have cost the Angels pitcher Joe Saunders and at least three other players. In initial talks, the Blue Jays asked for shortstop Erick Aybar, infielder Brandon Wood and top pitching prospect Trevor Reckling.

A deal for Bell would have cost at least two players, probably a big league infielder such as Howie Kendrick and a premium prospect such as Reckling, Wood or pitcher Sean O'Sullivan.

Asked whether the price for significant players like Halladay, Cliff Lee and Bell ever came down as the deadline approached, Reagins said, "No."

Did Reagins feel he was close to a deal? "I don't know if that's important or not, because if you don't get a deal done, it doesn't matter," he said. "We feel good about the proposals we made. Ultimately, you have to find a match. If a deal won't fit for both parties, it won't get done."

The Angels' farm system is not as strong as it was four or five years ago -- the organization does not have a surplus of premium pitching or position-playing prospects -- but Reagins didn't think that hindered him.

"We believe we have enough of those guys to get deals done," Reagins said. "It's a matter of, what combination of players are you willing to part with to get a deal done?"

Coming and going

Catcher Jeff Mathis came out of Wednesday's game against Cleveland because of a stiff back, and utility player Robb Quinlan has a tight hamstring, minor injuries that forced the Angels to recall catcher Bobby Wilson and utility player Sean Rodriguez from triple-A Salt Lake.

Also Friday, Wood, who had only 17 at-bats since his July 10 recall, was optioned back to Salt Lake.

Rehab report

Hunter (strained adductor muscle) and Guerrero (strained right hamstring/calf) took early batting practice at the Metrodome, and Guerrero ran the bases at about 80%, a significant step in his recovery. Manager Mike Scioscia said Guerrero could be activated as early as Tuesday in Chicago and that Hunter isn't far behind.--

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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