ORLANDO, Fla. &
While other teams play down their interest, the Los Angeles Angels admit they'd love to sign Alex Rodriguez.
The Angels had a meet-and-greet with A-Rod's agent, Scott Boras, at the general managers' meetings. The New York Mets also spoke with Boras but won't say whether they're in or out of the competition.
Tony Reagins, who just took over as the Angels' GM, had glowing words for A-Rod.
"We had an initial conversation with Scott, and it was introductory," he said Wednesday. "He probably makes any team that he's a part of better."
Reagins said if talks progressed, the Angels would welcome a chance to speak with Rodriguez. Reagins acknowledged marketing, as well as baseball skills, would play a role in a decision to sign A-Rod.
"In this day and age, I think that is a part of it," he said.
While the Mets have the cash to sign Rodriguez, they haven't committed to making an offer. Likely to win his third AL MVP award, Rodriguez is expected to sign a deal topping the record $252 million, 10-year contract the Texas Rangers gave him before the 2001 season. Before A-Rod opted out of that agreement, Boras told the New York Yankees they had to offer $350 million just to get a meeting with the third baseman.
Other possible destinations are thought to include the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers. All those teams say that they're not interested at this point.
On the next-to-last day of the four-day gathering, closer Brad Lidge was traded by the Houston Astros to the Philadelphia Phillies along with infielder Eric Bruntlett for speedy outfielder Michael Bourn, right-hander Geoff Geary and minor league third baseman Mike Costanzo. Other big names in the news included Miguel Cabrera, Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine and Kenny Rogers.
The final day of the annual meetings, GMs were to discuss whether first- and third-base coaches should wear helmets. Mike Coolbaugh, a first-base coach for the Colorado Rockies' minor league team in Tulsa, was killed in July when he was struck on the head by a line drive during a game.
On Tuesday, each general manager stood up during their meeting and stated what their offseason goals were. Many mentioned specific players they were making available. The idea was suggested by Boston's Theo Epstein and Florida's Larry Beinfest, co-chairs of this year's meeting.
"Usually it takes a while to be able to reach all 29 other teams and hear what they're trying to do. This increased our efficiency tremendously. It saves us all a lot of time," Epstein said. "Some teams were specific. Some were more guarded."
The 30-year-old Lidge was 5-3 with 19 saves in 27 chances for the Astros last year after converting 32 of 38 opportunities in 2006. He lost his closer's job to Dan Wheeler one week into the 2007 season but regained the role in mid-June.
"We're getting one of the premier closers in the game," Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "The marketplace, as we all know, is a little scarce out there as far as pitching. We felt this was one of the best ways for us to really improve."
Cabrera was the first really big name being dangled. He'll make more than $10 million next season, too expensive for the Marlins to retain. Having lost A-Rod, the Yankees need a third baseman but team executive Hank Steinbrenner was clear on what New York won't do.
"It's pretty obvious which players we're not going to trade," he said, before rattling off the team's most-prized young pitchers. "(Joba) Chamberlain, (Phil) Hughes and even (Ian) Kennedy. Not for a position player."
Atlanta said it would like to bring back Tom Glavine after a five-year absence. New general manager Frank Wren spoke with the two-time Cy Young Award winner and his agent, Gregg Clifton, and Wren intends to call again next week, after teams can start making offers to free agents.
Glavine, a left-hander who turns 42 in March, spent his first 16 major league seasons with Atlanta, then pitched for the New York Mets for five years. He lives in suburban Atlanta and was hoping to get an offer from the Braves after the 2006 season. Atlanta never made an offer, and he agreed Dec. — to re-sign with the Mets.
"It wasn't that we weren't interested. It was just the timing of when Tom had to make a decision and when we could make a decision based on our roster and our payroll and where we were at the time," Wren said. "We have flexibility this year to be more active in both the trade market and the free-agent market."
Rogers, a left-hander who turns 43 on Saturday, is in negotiations with the Tigers, but Detroit isn't sure whether he will return for a third season.
Clemens, who is 45, is ready to join the Houston Astros &
as a consultant. In a sign Clemens' pitching career could be over, his agent sent an e-mail to Drayton McLane informing the owner the seven-time Cy Young Award winner is set to start his personal-services contract with the team on Jan. 1.
"He's moving toward retirement and leaving open the possibility of playing," agent Randy Hendricks said. "As Roger has stated several times, he's failed at retirement repeatedly."
Angels admit it: they'd love to have A-Rod
ORLANDO, Fla. &