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Angels president says luxury tax threshold 'not a line in the sand'

Angels president says luxury tax threshold 'not a line in the sand'
Angels President John Carpino says his team's decision not to pursue left-hander Jon Lester and other expensive free agents this off-season is "more about baseball than the luxury tax." (Ben Margot / Associated Press)

It has been widely reported owner Arte Moreno is extremely reluctant to exceed the $189-million luxury tax threshold for 2015, and that Moreno's stance is preventing the Angels from pursuing expensive free-agent aces such as Max ScherzerJon Lester and James Shields.

Not completely true, said Angels President John Carpino, who arrived at the winter meetings Tuesday with his team's luxury tax payroll at about $180 million.

"If an opportunity presented itself that made sense to Arte, he would look at it," Carpino said. "Right now, when you look at revenues and expenses, we're trying to be prudent. But I don't believe the [threshold] is a line in the sand with him. It's about opportunity and what gives you the best chance of winning."

Carpino said the Angels' decision to pass on high-end free agents this off-season is "more about baseball than the luxury tax."

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To add a prominent piece to a club that had a major league-best 98-64 record last season "it would have to fill a big void for us," Carpino said. "We have a very good team that we're really excited about."

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