Angels to hold more C.J. Wilson talks and maybe seek a closer
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Upon arriving at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas for baseball’s winter meetings on Monday, the agent for pitcher C.J. Wilson said he would ‘absolutely’ be meeting with the Angels again this week, the continuation of a recruitment process that began at the general managers meetings in Milwaukee last month.
A source familiar with the Angels’ off-season plans also said Monday that the team is ‘clearly looking for back-end-of-the-bullpen help, specifically for an experienced closer,’ a strong indication the Angels are pursuing free-agent right-handers Ryan Madson and Francisco Cordero.
Bob Garber, Wilson’s agent, had a three-hour dinner meeting with Angels GM Jerry Dipoto in Milwaukee on Nov. 15, and Garber and Wilson, a left-hander who is considered the top starting pitcher on the market, had dinner with Dipoto and Manager Mike Scioscia in Los Angeles the following week.
Wilson, 31, a former Fountain Valley High School standout, went 16-7 with a 2.94 earned run average, 206 strikeouts and 74 walks in 223 1/3 innings for the Texas Rangers last season. He reportedly has offers from four teams, including the Angels and Miami Marlins, but there are indications that any Angels offer for Wilson won’t surpass the five-year, $85-million deal they gave ace Jered Weaver.
Earlier this winter, Dipoto said he might want to pursue a closer who could give rookie right-hander Jordan Walden, who had a 2.98 ERA, 32 saves and 10 blown saves, a little more time to grow into the role.
The Angels are definitely pursuing right-handed relief help, and there are a variety of non-closing, lesser-expensive options available through free agency or trade. Last week, Dipoto appeared to be leaning more toward a setup man than closer.
‘The idea that we’re searching for a closer may not be accurate,’ Dipoto said. ‘You have to be aware of your options and how you make the club better in a variety of different ways.’
Madson, who went 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA and 32 saves for the Philadelphia Phillies last season, is the top reliever on the market, but he could command a deal in the four-year, $40-million range. The Angels would prefer a deal that is shorter.
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Dallas