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BASEBALL MEETINGS NOTES

Angels' Tony Reagins doesn't tip off-season hand

General Manager won't comment specifically on which free agents the club is pursuing.

November 16, 2010|By Kevin Baxter

Reporting from Orlando, Fla. — Are the Angels pursuing Carl Crawford?

General Manager Tony Reagins wouldn't say.

Would they prefer upgrading their lineup with a good-fielding speedster or a slugger?

Again, Reagins wouldn't say.

In fact, there was very little Reagins would discuss in specific terms during baseball's annual general managers' meetings Tuesday. But he did make one thing clear: he didn't enjoy sitting home during the playoffs.

"It wasn't fun," he said. "I'd rather be working at that time."

To do that, he'll have to improve a team that struggled at bat, in the field and on the mound. The Angels last season were second-to-last in the American League in fielding and on-base percentage and in the middle of the pack in earned-run average.

"Our objective is really to search out and determine if there's any opportunity that makes sense for us, either via a trade or free agency," he said. "We have an idea what we what to accomplish. And we'll just see where that goes."

Might that go toward Crawford, the Gold Glove left fielder with 409 stolen bases? Or maybe toward Crawford's former Tampa Bay teammate, Rafael Soriano, who led the league with 45 saves?

"I think it's fair to say that we're looking to get improvement any way we can," Reagins said. "We have some very specific targets as far as free agents or trades. … Whatever the makeup of the team is, whatever piece we bring in, we have to play good baseball.

"We have to pitch well, we have to play good defense, we have to situational hit and we have to have batter's-box offense. We have to do all those things in order to get to where we want to be. And that could take a number of different pieces to have happen."

Reagins will have some help. He said the team is bringing back his predecessor, senior advisor Bill Stoneman, whose contract ran out at the end of the season.

Other business

Reagins and the 29 other general managers spent most of Tuesday discussing issues that figure to impact negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. Baseball's current labor contract with the players union expires in 13 months.

Commissioner Bud Selig is expected to join the meetings Wednesday when team owners begin two days of talks.

Topics discussed by the general managers Tuesday included proposals to change the player draft and expand the playoffs to include a second wild card in each league.

Among the proposed draft changes was the implementation of a worldwide draft — currently players outside the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico are exempt from selection — and a slotting system that would dictate the maximum bonus that could be paid each pick depending on how high in the draft a player was selected.

The union is expected to contest that change, but recently hired New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said the players should reconsider.

"There are reasons why major league players should want a slot system," he said. "What's not spent in the draft arguably could be, or would be, spent on major league players."

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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