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Tag:Los Angeles Angels
Posted on: March 20, 2011 2:22 am
Edited on: March 20, 2011 2:36 am
 

Beltre: Best chance to win was Texas, not Angels

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Adrian Beltre played for the Dodgers from 1998 through 2004, still lives in Los Angeles in the offseason and had a chance to go home to play for the Angels as a free agent this winter.

He didn't.

Instead, he signed with Texas and will spend another summer away from home.

Why?

According to Beltre, because Texas has more talent than the Angels.

"I thought this is the team that gave me the best chance to put a ring on my finger," Beltre told CBSSports.com the other day, wearing his Rangers uniform, sitting inside the Texas clubhouse.

Certainly, dollars figured into it because they always do.

He signed with the Rangers for $80 million over five years, with an option for 2016 at the end of that.

The Angels made what they termed a "significant" offer during the negotiating period, reportedly $70 million over five years. Beltre also earlier declined a reported five-year, $64 million offer from the Athletics.

Beltre, though, in discussing choosing the Rangers over the Angels didn't say anything about bigger dollars. Instead, the 13-year veteran talked about the big goal in the game that so far has been elusive to him.

"I've been playing awhile, and I've only been to the playoffs once," Beltre said. "It was really fun.

"This is a really good team, and a young team. We know the core of the team will be here awhile. It's not going to be a good team for one or two years and then get older or whatever."

That run started last year. When Texas won the division title in 2010, it stopped a streak in which the Angels had won five of the previous six AL West titles.

Beltre said he spoke with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels before signing and "I believe Texas is going to do what it takes to win on the field for the rest of my contract."

And the Angels?

"I don't want to get into details," Beltre said. "I thought, overall, my best chance was here in Texas."

Even if he meant leaving home to find his best chance.

Sunblock Day? Yessir. Checked in in the 80s again today.

Likes: Butler 71, Pitt 70. What a phenomenal game. And yes, both fouls should have been called at game's end. Butler's Shelvin Mack said it best: As players, they're taught to play the right way for 40 minutes. As such, they deserve nothing less than officials remaining consistent throughout as well. ... The sour cream enchiladas at Los Olivos. Terrific Mexican food there in Scottsdale. ... Great running into umpire Jim Joyce and his lovely wife, Kay, in Los Olivos as well, by the way. ... The Bud Light dogs commercial they're running during these NCAA tourney games. The one where the guy says the dogs can do anything, and next thing you know there's a wild party with good looking guys and gals and the dogs are tending bar, bringing appetizers around, etc. When I get home from spring training, I'm going to have a discussion with my dog, Slugger, about stepping up his game.

Dislikes: What?! Rain in the forecast for Phoenix on Monday? How dare Mother Nature do that.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now Texas has gotten a bad reputation because of what happened in Dallas and Waco
"And the corporations, well, they are corrupt and the politicians are swindlers and loco
"But when it comes to music my friend, I believe these words are as true as St. John the Revelators
"Our Mr. Vaughn was the best that there ever was and no band was cooler than the 13th Floor Elevators"

-- Ray Wiley Hubbard, Screw You, We're From Texas

Posted on: March 18, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Angels' "gold standard" Shields retires

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Scot Shields, one of the premier set-up men in the game for a five-year period as the Angels were racking up AL West titles from 2004 through 2008, will announce his retirement later today.

For a long period of time, Shields truly was, as former teammate Tim Salmon called him Friday morning, the "Rubberband Man." A 6-1 right-hander with a slight frame and a funky, deceptive delivery, Shields worked in 60 or more games every year between 2004 and 2008. He made more than 70 appearances in three of those seasons.

"He evolved into, really, the gold standard for what set-up men are," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "What impressed us about Scot was that he could have gone a lot of places and been the closer. But he committed to this organization, and this organization committed to him.

"He accepted the role when there was a lot of discussion about him being a starter. In the right situation, he could have been the closer. Except we had Troy (Percival) and Frankie (Rodriguez) here.

"He was about winning."

Shields made 43 appearances last season for the Angels, going 0-3 with a 5.28 ERA, before his season ended with arm problems.

Sunblock Day? Rumor has it that the temp in the desert is supposed to drop into the 60s Sunday or Monday. Today, though, it's great. Going to be back in the 80s.

Likes: Maxine Nightingale's Right Back Where We Started From pumping through Tempe Diablo Stadium as Angels ran through Friday morning workout. Great thing about it is, two nights ago I was flipping the TV in the hotel and came upon Slapshot -- and had forgotten how they keep playing that song throughout. Strange how stuff like that happens so often, isn't it? Hadn't heard that song in years, then I see Slapshot and now here it is again a couple of days later. ... Slapshot, by the way: One of the great moments in cinema. ... Thai Elephant in Tempe. ... Dallas Braden wearing that awesome Tam o'Shanter hat for St. Patrick's Day in the video interview we did with him on St. Patrick's Day. I was ready to go out and buy one for myself but, sadly, he didn't pick it up in Phoenix. His grandmother sent it to him.

Dislikes: Days like this, I want to stay back and watch wall-to-wall NCAA tournament games. I know we've got that "Boss Button" that you can click in case he walks up behind you in the office. Problem is, I do that and my bosses still know I'm screwing around because the baseball columns don't get turned in!

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Dealin' card games with the old men in the club car
"Penny a point ain't no one keepin' score
"Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
"Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor
"And the sons of pullman porters
"And the sons of engineers
"Ride their father's magic carpets made of steel
"Mothers with their babes asleep
"Are rockin' to the gentle beat
"And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel"

-- Steve Goodman, City of New Orleans

Posted on: February 9, 2011 7:02 pm
 

On the spring comeback trail

Former NL Cy Young winner and White Sox ace Jake Peavy is not the only impact player looking to prove this spring that he's past a debilitating injury. Here are six others:

Chipper Jones, Braves: Strong early indications that Atlanta's leader is recovering well from major knee surgery last August. Just ask the baseballs: Jones has been hitting in Atlanta since the first of the year, and the legend already is growing. Earlier this month, he literally knocked the cover off of a ball -- ala Roy Hobbs in The Natural -- in a Turner Field batting cage.

"There might have been a stitch or two loose," says general manager Frank Wren, who was away on the Braves' Winter Caravan at the time and was told of the feat by club president John Schuerholz.

Where there was talk last summer that Jones' torn knee could have been a career-ending injury, now the Braves are expecting him to be full-go on the first day of spring training.

"I think we all expected him to be back performing at a high level," Wren says. "You're talking about a very gifted player. All the hard work he's put in, you can just see it. You can see it with your eyes."

Justin Morneau, Twins: The 2006 AL MVP did not play after July 7 last year -- one day after Peavy went down -- because of post-concussion syndrome. The Twins missed him badly during their first-round playoff loss to the Yankees, and there's still a weird vibe about this whole situation. Such as, Twins GM Bill Smith told Morneau to skip TwinsFest a couple of weeks ago so he could stay home and concentrate on his conditioning. And as of the end of January, Morneau still had not resumed baseball activities.

What to expect from Morneau this spring?

"We have pledged patience, and we only want him to go when he's ready," Smith told colleague Danny Knobler a couple of weeks ago. "If that's March 1, April 1 or July 1, that's what it will be. We only want him to go through this one time. We don't want this to become a rollercoaster."

Smith says the date he has circled is April 1, because that's Minnesota's opening day. But it sounds like it's in pencil, not pen.

Brandon Webb, Rangers: In danger of falling permanently into the "Whatever Happened To..." category, Webb has a chance to become Texas' sleeper this summer and help ease the Rangers' pain following the departure of ace Cliff Lee. The 2006 NL Cy Young winner, Webb has made only one big-league start since 2008. And that lasted only four innings.

Arizona was hopeful Webb would have helped last year's club, but he couldn't make it back to the mound following shoulder debridement surgery in August, 2009.

"There's obviously a risk, an unknown anytime a guy is coming back from surgery," Texas GM Jon Daniels says. "But the timeline, the 18-months-out from surgery when you think a guy has a chance to bounce back, lines up with the beginning of the season.

"We're betting on the guy."

The Rangers like what they see so far: Webb has been on a conditioning and throwing program, he's worked over the winter with Rangers strength and conditioning coach Jose Vazquez and he's talked with pitching coach Mike Maddux about what everyone expects. His heavy sinker is made-to-order for the Ballpark in Arlington.

"We're going to push him more on the conditioning side than anything," Daniels says. "If he's ready to go, I'd expect him to be in the rotation."

Kendry Morales, Angels: We haven't heard from Morales since his game-winning grand slam last May beat the Mariners and Morales suffered a broken leg when he awkwardly landed on home plate. The injury required immediate surgery and Morales, who led the Angels at the time with 11 homers, 39 RBIs and a .290 batting average, was done for the season.

The injury was one of many things that wrecked the Angels' season, and after a rough winter in which they failed in their quest to sign Carl Crawford, a big comeback season from Morales is a must. The hope is that he can replicate a 2009 season in which he crashed 34 home runs, compiled a .569 slugging percentage and finished fifth in AL MVP voting.

"We're anticipating him to be full go in spring training," manager Mike Scioscia said at the winter meetings in December. "Obviously, once you get on the field and get into some more extensive activities, you're going to take it slow. Does it mean he'll play our first spring training game? I don't know yet. When he comes into spring training, we expect he'll be full go for all the drills. And if not, we'll adjust on that."

Joe Nathan, Twins: The Upper Midwest report on the Twins' closer sounds more promising than it does on Morneau. Nathan, sidelined the entire 2010 season following Tommy John surgery, has been throwing off of a mound and was throwing breaking balls by the end of January. Smith described Nathan as "very upbeat" and noted what a big boost it would be to have a fully healthy Nathan along with experienced closer Matt Capps late in games.

Carlos Santana, Indians: He could have been Buster Posey, or Jason Heyward. Instead, things weren't exactly smooth for the baseball Santana, whose rookie season was ruined after his June 11 recall when he suffered a torn lateral collateral ligament in his left knee during a home plate collision with Boston's Ryan Kalish on Aug. 2.

One of the many bright lights in a stunningly good rookie class in 2010, Santana has been cleared by Indians doctors to resume full baseball activities during spring training. Barring any setbacks, Santana could start playing in games when the Cactus League schedule begins on Feb. 27.

The Indians, losers of 93 games and the worst-drawing team in the majors last season, are not expected to contend in 2011. But in Santana, one of the brightest young prospects in the game, and center fielder Grady Sizemore -- also recovering from left knee surgery -- Cleveland's season could gain traction (or slip into the ditch) depending on how this duo progresses in Arizona this spring.

 

Posted on: February 8, 2011 2:43 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 2:44 pm
 

Love Letters: The Spring is Almost Here edition

Last mail call before spring training. Now, doesn't THAT sound nice? ...

FROM: Bert L.
Re.: Red Sox, Brewers, Phillies reign over winter carnival

Your column with trades and teams making them was an absolute riot. Very funny and very factual. Being in South Florida, I loved the Hanley Ramirez bit about hustling and the A.J. Burnett bit about salt and snow trucks. Thanks for the well written and well thought out entertainment.

May need some sand to dump on Burnett as well as salt to make sure he's good and thawed for spring camp and beyond.

FROM: Alan

You'd really put A-1 on filet mignon? You're about as smart as a bag of hair.

Depends on who's cooking the filet mignon. If I'm grilling it, no need for A-1.

FROM: Alex B.
Re.: Contrite Joyce seeks new beginning after haunted winter

Mr. Joyce is an inspiration to me. He has taken the wave of anger head on, stoically endured it, preserving what I believe is the most beautiful thing about baseball: That it is about the controlling of chance, and ultimately about the human element of judgment. I may be alone in this, but I believe what happened in that game is the best argument against replay-officiating in baseball. The controversy of judgment and the finality of the moment has been the spice of our nation pastime since its beginnings. But honestly, I had stopped thinking about that game, and I assumed everyone else did too. I hope that's the case soon, but I will remain his fan. Thanks for writing the piece.

I think he made a lot of fans and, as I wrote, he put a human face on the umpiring profession. And some of those guys really need it.

FROM: Kurt K.

Hi Scott,

Very well written article on Joyce. It was really interesting to see what he has been up to recently. What a class act Joyce is. I am sorry that it had to happen to Armando Galarraga but I am actually glad it did happen. It just shows what true sportsmanship is all about and why baseball is so much classier than all other professional sports.

Another thing: When baseball sells seats to a World Series, the seats are actually there for the ticketholders.

FROM: John B.
Re.: Rangers can't let demand get old before dealing Young

How about this for a deal? Michael Young to the Mets for Carlos Beltran. Works for both teams, fills needs and clears problems. Could work!!!

I like your thinking but here's why it won't work: The Mets are not on Young's list of eight clubs to whom he will accept a trade. I don't see Young being interested in playing for the Mets. And Beltran has a full no-trade clause.

FROM: Frank D
Re.: Needing youth, quickness, Angels instead opt for Wells

Love your passion, but I think too many are underselling Vernon Wells. If you look at his numbers in 2008 and 2009, though they were down, they were, in fact, superior to Adrian Beltre -- who got a huge deal and a lot of positives. Wells brings grit, power and pride to the Angels. Coupled with Torii Hunter, you have two pros who will play hard, produce and lead a team fighting for the AL West. They also have the best manager in MLB and he'll know how to get the most out of Wells. Napoli already has been dealt to Texas, and Rivera is an oft-injured 4th OF who jakes it. The Angels gave up nothing, but money to get a quality player with character.

You're right about Rivera, and Napoli wasn't ever a Mike Scioscia favorite. And you're right that Wells is a pro, just like Hunter. But that's a lot of dough for a player where there are other, more significant needs.

FROM: Scott D.

Nice hatchet job on the Angels Scott. It will be interesting to see what you have to say if Wells brings a big bat to go with his contract. Three center fielders in the outfield adds up to a great defensive unit, and Mike Trout is waiting in the wings. If the underachievers from last year play up to potential, we could see the Angels winning the division and more, again. Enjoy your vacation, moron.

If Wells plays a key role in the Angels winning this year, here's what I will say: I was wrong. But I'm not counting on it. I still think Angels need infusion of youth and speed.

FROM: Travis B.

Dear Mr. Miller,

I respect your words but I disagree. The Angels don't need a lead-off man -- Peter Bourjos can do the job. Vernon Wells is the power we needed just in case Kendry Morales can't answer the call. To drive in runs.

Come on, Bourjos batted .204 with a .237 on-base percentage over his 51 games in Anaheim last summer! Unless he grows into his offensive shoes in a hurry, I don't put him anywhere near the leadoff slot.

Likes: On deck in just a few days: The daily spring training Bull Pennings with news, notes, quips, likes, dislikes, the whole package. And, of course, the rock and roll lyrics. A Florida (and then Arizona) travelogue. Stay tuned. ... Could go from a Green Bay Super Bowl title to a Milwaukee Brewers' playoff appearance later this summer. The Brewers have made some great offseason moves. Wisconsin is a fabulous sports state. Could be fun. ... The Eminem/Chrysler/Detroit Super Bowl commercial. If you missed it, it's here. ... Jane Leavy's biography of Mickey Mantle is a terrific read. ... Go see The Fighter. You will not be disappointed. Christian Bale is everything you've heard, Mark Wahlberg is good and Melissa Leo -- one of the most underrated actresses around -- is as great as she usually is. ... Hey, the groundhog saw his shadow! Spring is right around the corner. Right?

Dislikes: The waiting for spring training to begin. Seems like it takes forever, doesn't it?

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well it's 9th and Hennepin
"And all the donuts have
"Names that sound like prostitutes
"And the moon's teeth marks are
"On the sky like a tarp thrown over all this
"And the broken umbrellas like
"Dead birds and the steam
"Comes out of the grill like
"The whole damned town is ready to blow"

-- Tom Waits, 9th and Hennepin

 

 

Posted on: January 4, 2011 1:29 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Rangers, Beltre close to a deal

Striking to tighten their grip on the AL West, the Rangers are close to a deal with free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre that will lock him up in Texas for the next six years, sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com.

The deal with Texas appears just about done, with one of the last remaining steps a physical examination for Beltre. Assuming no problems there, the Rangers are expected to announce what is believed to be a six-year, $96 million deal for Beltre, probably later this week.

As second choices go, there are far worse.

Though Texas swung and missed at this winter's free agent plum, Cliff Lee, the Rangers still will accomplish part of their winter goal of strengthening their pitching staff simply by adding Beltre, 31, a two-time Gold Glove winner and recognized as one of the best defensive third basemen in the game.

Multiple reports out of Texas suggest that All-Star Michael Young, the incumbent third baseman, has agreed to shift to designated hitter to make room for Beltre. That is just another testament to as classy and as professional a player as there is in the game: This will be Young's fourth position change in the past decade.

He moved from shortstop to second base when the Rangers signed Alex Rodriguez, went back to shortstop after A-Rod was traded, then shifted over to third base to make room for then-rookie Elvis Andrus two summers ago.

Now, Young again will be displaced by a personnel move. However, anybody who has watched the Rangers, particularly in the postseason last year, would agree that Young struggled defensively at third base at times. In the World Series against San Francisco in particular, a handful of balls got by Young that cost the Rangers.

With Beltre at third, the infield defensive immediately will improve (and with Andrus at short, the Rangers will field as talented and entertaining a left side of the infield as there is in the game). And with Young at DH and perhaps spelling various infielders at times during the brutally hot Texas summer, the Rangers will retain their team leader, a guy who long ago became the heart and soul of the clubhouse.

Beltre, after going quiet with the bat in Seattle's huge Safeco Field during his time there, re-emerged offensively last summer in Boston. He hit .321 with 28 homers and 102 RBI. His 49 doubles led the league, while his .365 on-base percentage and .553 slugging percentage both were close to career highs for the 13-year veteran.

The move at the same time improves Texas -- even though last year's DH, Vladimir Guerrero, now is not expected back -- while striking another blow to the beleaguered Los Angeles Angels. Texas' chief AL West rivals also were trying to lure Beltre, who becomes the latest free agent to decline the Angels' money.

Los Angeles also took a strong run at Carl Crawford earlier this winter before he signed with Boston, and the Angels held talks with Lee before he signed with Philadelphia.

Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:53 pm
 

Angels hold steady as Crawford favorites

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Whether it was a misdirection ploy by the Angels or an agent taking a liberty or two to help jack up the market, put those Cliff Lee/Angels rumors on the back burner.

The Angels, multiple sources said on Wednesday, are continuing to plunge into these winter meetings with speedy outfielder Carl Crawford as their clear No. 1 priority.

And just for good measure, attempting to make sure they fix a declining offense somehow, they met with the agent for third baseman Adrian Beltre on Wednesday.

Yes, they did reach out to Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker, on Tuesday and are keeping in touch. But a source with knowledge of those talks called them "benign." No, he said, Crawford remains the top target.

Many in the industry -- as well as sources close to the outfielder -- are handicapping the Angels as the clear favorites to land Crawford, though Jayson Werth's seven-year, $126 million deal with Washington may slow things down until (if?) the Yankees, Red Sox or another big market team enters the bidding.

And here's where things get murky, much murkier than the Lee talks. With Crawford, it's much more of a moving parts-type of market.

The Yankees are expected to veer toward Crawford if they fail to sign Lee. Some industry sources believe they may take a run at both Lee and Crawford though, even for the Yankees, that seems awfully pricey. General manager Brian Cashman had dinner with Crawford and his representatives here on Tuesday night.

The Red Sox were believed to want either Werth or Crawford initially, but having acquired Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego and with parameters surely in place for a monster extension there, it's difficult to see the Red Sox signing up for two contracts of at least seven years in length in one winter.

The Tigers need a left-fielder, have money to spend and showed initial interest in Crawford but seem to have disappeared in these talks in recent days.

One wild-card who recently met with Crawford's representatives, according to sources, is the Rangers. While they're clearly focused on Lee, Crawford could represent a stunning backup plan if Lee signs with the Yankees. The Rangers also could be the Angels' worst nightmare: If they do lose Lee and go strong after the Houston native, that might be too tempting for Crawford to ignore.

People close to Crawford, a Houston native, say he loves the West Coast and would be happy in Anaheim.

Certainly, this is setting up with the Angels as the clubhouse favorites, so to speak.

But it's also clear that the road could curve ahead.

Posted on: December 8, 2010 4:27 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 4:40 pm
 

Beltre market beginning to take shape

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Talks for free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre heated up Wednesday with several clubs scheduling meetings with Beltre's agent, Scott Boras for the afternoon and evening.

Among others, the Los Angeles Angels, quiet so far this winter, finally made a move into the Beltre conversations, according to CBSSports.com sources. The Rangers also are believed to be interested. Another AL West club, Oakland, made a significant offer last week of five years and at least $64 million according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, but pulled the offer on Sunday when Beltre didn't bite.

After reestablishing himself in Boston last season on a one-year deal, Beltre is looking for a multi-year deal with a winning club.

Beltre, a two-time Gold Glove winner, batted .321 with 28 home runs and 102 RBI for the Red Sox in 2010. He compiled a .365 on-base percentage and ranked fifth in the AL with a .919 OPS.

Currently, there is enough interest in Beltre that there is a chance he could sign before the conclusion of the winter meetings here on Thursday.

Sources re-iterated to CBSSports.com on Wednesday that while the Angels are interested in Beltre, free agent outfielder Carl Crawford remains their top priority.

Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:28 am
 

The Yanks, Rangers, Nats, Angels and Cliff Lee

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Late into the night Tuesday, with the Angels having become the latest team to make a move toward the top starter on the free agent market, there were more Cliff Lee rumors than ornaments on the giant Christmas tree in the lobby of the Dolphin hotel here.

With no end game yet in sight -- executives with multiple teams believe that this thing will drag out beyond the winter meetings and into next week -- four clubs appear to be serious players for the left-hander at the moment (and by Wednesday, that number could be adjusted up or down):

Yankees: Still viewed as the favorites because they intend to put on the full-court press, they've got the deepest pockets and they generally get what they want. Various reports Tuesday insisted that the Yankees would not go beyond a six-year offer for Lee and other clubs might go seven years. But it's instructive to remember that, two winters ago, CC Sabathia clearly wanted to play on the West Coast ... until New York general manager Brian Cashman's stealth, overnight flight to visit Sabathia at his Bay Area home sealed the deal.

In New York, Lee would have a chance to win every year, be reunited with his friend and former Cleveland teammate Sabathia and make a boatload of money -- likely $20 million a year or more. Cashman was scheduled to meet with Darek Braunecker, Lee's agent, again late Tuesday night.

Rangers: Still badly want Lee and are making it their No. 1 goal. Still feel they have an inside track because they got a three-month head start on him when they acquired Lee last summer, the pairing worked well, the geography works (they're close to Lee's Arkansas home), Lee pitched in a World Series and the Rangers are set up to win for the next several years.

"I'd like to think that the longer the process goes, the less news you hear about it, the more encouraged I am," Rangers president Nolan Ryan told colleague Danny Knobler on Tuesday afternoon. "There's not any earthshaking news that has come out that concerns me. We don't have anything definitive by any means, but I think they have targeted one or two places, and I think they have a feel of where it's going."

The Rangers already have met twice with Braunecker.

Nationals: Still the darkhorse, though they have grabbed their share of attention with the wild seven-year, $126 million contract bestowed upon Jayson Werth. Lee wants to play with a winner, and while the Nationals' money will be just as authentic as anybody else's, their wins total may not be for a few years.

One industry source said Tuesday that he thinks Werth is one wild-card in the Nationals' pursuit of Lee: The two played together on the 2009 Phillies team that advanced to the World Series before losing to the Yankees, and the two were said to have developed a pretty good friendship.

Angels: The late entrant, the Angels were said to have made contact with Braunecker on Tuesday and indicated their intention to stay in touch. While an Angels official stopped short of confirming that late Tuesday night, he did say, "We talk with everybody."

If their pursuit of Lee is serious, the Angels are in the midst of a misdirection play because manager Mike Scioscia repeatedly told reporters during a briefing Tuesday that improving an impotent offense is the club's top priority. Within that, the Angels have visited with free agent outfielder Carl Crawford, long said to be the club's top target this winter.

A move toward Lee would be fascinating in that the Angels, who were toppled from their AL West throne by Texas last year, could spirit him away from their biggest division rival -- Texas -- and from one of their long-running October rivals -- the Yankees.

However, their history of bidding against the Yankees is an open wound: New York out-bid them on both Sabathia and Mark Teixeira in recent winters, leaving them scrambling toward their backup plans. And, Anaheim might start with an "A" like Arkansas, but it is thousands of miles from Cliff and Kristen Lee's beloved native state.

However, by bidding on Lee, the Angels could accomplish one of two things: They could either win him in a surprise bid and block Texas from getting him ... or they could at least drive the price up to hurt the Rangers and the Yankees.

Earlier Tuesday, Scioscia said, "We need to add offensive depth. It might not be one impact guy, but it definitely needs to be guys that have an idea of what to do in the batter's box."

But he also talked about Lee.

"A pitcher of Lee's caliber makes you better," Scioscia said. "There is no doubt about that. Whether he's a fit for us or not depends on more than just the talent aspect. Obviously, a free agent, it's complicated. He's obviously commanding a lot of attention.

"But he's certainly a guy that a number of teams would look at and know that they can make you substantially better in that area."

One other thing to remember: In their recent past, the Angels have always gone for pitching: They took a hard run at Sabathia when he was a free agent. They made a serious effort to acquire Jake Peavy from San Diego a couple of years ago. They were in on the Lee and Roy Halladay trade talks before each was shipped elsewhere in the past couple of seasons. And they signed Bartolo Colon as a free agent before the 2004 season.

Stay tuned.

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com