Angels still in the market for offense

Notebook

May 13, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

Trying to add an impact bat before last year's trade deadline, the Los Angeles Angels called the Orioles and started negotiating a trade that they hoped would land Miguel Tejada. But Tejada didn't want to move from shortstop to third base for the Angels and Orioles owner Peter Angelos didn't want to trade his franchise player, so the talks stalled.

The Angels still haven't found that dynamic offensive player to protect superstar Vladimir Guerrero in a lineup that has been one of the least productive in the American League this season. Even with an eight-run outburst on Thursday in a shutout victory over the Cleveland Indians, the Angels are ninth in the AL in runs, and four of the five teams below them had played fewer games. They were 13th with 23 home runs.

The lack of production beyond Guerrero, who has been intentionally walked nine times this season and watched the guy behind him get a hit just one of those times, has led to more fan pressure on general manager Bill Stoneman to trade one or two of his top pitching prospects from a stocked farm system for a proven offensive player. However, Stoneman, infamously reluctant to deal young players, doesn't sound too concerned.

"Everything is magnified early in the year. You don't want to make a rash judgment that comes back to bite you later," Stoneman told The Orange County Register. "You don't want to trade yourself into a weakness.

"You know me - I'm not going to do something for the sake of the short term that costs us in the long term. This organization had a history of doing that, and it cost them too many times."

The Angels, who have relied on steady starting pitching and one of the league's best bullpens to remain in first place in the AL West, have five position players on the disabled list, including veteran outfielder Garret Anderson and second baseman Howie Kendrick.

They reportedly have interest in several players, including the Colorado Rockies' Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe, the Milwaukee Brewers' Kevin Mench and the Philadelphia Phillies' Pat Burrell.

As for Tejada, the Orioles and Angels have had no discussions about him since last year, according to one Orioles source.

Taking their cuts

Hoping to change his luck, New York Mets All-Star third baseman David Wright got a buzz cut on Monday. Most of his teammates followed suit the next day in the clubhouse, with Julio Franco and Carlos Beltran as the barbers. They got to just about everyone, including former Oriole David Newhan.

"This is dumb," said Newhan, who apparently was convinced to get his done when catcher Paul Lo Duca offered to pay for his dinner on a future road trip. "Can't we just wear our pants high?"

When somebody told closer Billy Wagner that he looked ugly with a freshly shorn pate, Wagner said, "But I'm still rich."

Quote of the week

"With this Rocket situation, there's two kinds of people: people that are not surprised and morons. Where else was he going to go? He wasn't going to come back here. From the moment [Andy] Pettitte signed with the Yankees, there was 100 percent certainty that that's where he was going."

Houston Astros' Lance Berkman on former teammate Roger Clemens' decision to sign with the New York Yankees.

Quick hits

Seattle Mariners phenom Felix Hernandez, who hasn't pitched since April 18 because of a strained muscle in his elbow, is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Angels. ... The Phillies' Triple-A affiliate in Ottawa, the former home of the Orioles' Triple-A team, hit only three home runs in their first 30 games. ... Not only did Yankees backup catcher Wil Nieves get his first hit of the season on Wednesday after starting 0-for-22, it was also his first since Sept. 29, 2002.jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

Compiled from interviews and other newspapers' reports.

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