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Angels give GM Tony Reagins a long-term contract extension

While the teams he has shaped won the AL West the last two years, he still wants to build one thing: a World Series champion.

November 07, 2009|Ben Bolch

In his 18 years with the Angels, Tony Reagins has set up bat-boy promotions, evaluated minor league players and signed one of the top center fielders in Torii Hunter.

There's one thing Reagins still yearns to do: construct a World Series champion.

"We have some unfinished business around here," he said.

The Angels gave their general manager a lot more wiggle room in that quest Friday with what was described as a "long-term" contract extension that one club official said was at least as long as the three-year deal Reagins signed in 2007 to replace Bill Stoneman.

Pressed for more specifics on his extension, Reagins, 42, would only say "there's a comfort level from [owner] Arte Moreno and myself as far as the length of the contract goes. . . . I am honored and I appreciate deeply the confidence that Arte has shown in not only myself, but the job that we're doing as an organization."

Although the Angels won the American League West in each of his first two seasons and advanced to the AL Championship Series last month, losing to the New York Yankees in six games, Reagins made it clear that they have fallen short of their ultimate goal.

"Our expectation is to be the best team in baseball," Reagins said. "So I think you have to say that settling for anything less than a world championship is something we don't desire. We want to be the best."

The Angels made their first move of the off-season Thursday by re-signing outfielder Bobby Abreu to a two-year, $19-million contract, but they still face decisions on several free agents. Third baseman Chone Figgins, right fielder Vladimir Guerrero and pitcher Kelvim Escobar filed for free agency Friday, joining infielder Robb Quinlan and pitchers John Lackey and Darren Oliver, who had filed the previous day.

Lackey is expected to be the top starting pitcher on the free-agent market and could seek a five-year deal in the $100-million range. Figgins might command roughly half that amount over the same number of years, while Guerrero, 34, will probably warrant considerably fewer years and dollars after an injury-plagued 2009 season.

"I can tell you there's a level of interest from this organization to have all those players back in some way or another, but we just don't know that yet," Reagins said.

He was active in his first two years as a GM, trading for first baseman Mark Teixeira and pitchers Jon Garland and Scott Kazmir and signing outfielder Torii Hunter and Abreu.

Reagins said the security of a long-term contract would not change his approach. "We . . . will work as hard as we did when I was first appointed general manager," he said. "That's not going to change. We're trying to put a winning and championship-caliber team on the field every single day."

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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