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Cabrera deal not a good fit

Times Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- Runners-up in bids to obtain Paul Konerko after the 2005 season and Alfonso Soriano after 2006, the Angels looked like the Los Angeles Bridesmaids of Anaheim again Tuesday.

Their primary winter trade target, Florida slugger Miguel Cabrera, appeared headed for Detroit after the Marlins and Tigers reached preliminary agreement on an eight-player deal that will also send Florida ace Dontrelle Willis to Detroit.

For those clamoring for a big bat to protect Vladimir Guerrero at any cost, Angels General Manager Tony Reagins feels your pain.

“What I would say to Angels fans is hang in there and keep supporting us, because we feel we’re on the right track,” Reagins said from the Opryland Hotel, site of the winter meetings. “We’re continuing to work on improving the club. We know that we have a good club right now, and we’re going to compete for years to come.”

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For those hoping Reagins wouldn’t blow huge holes in the lineup or farm system to acquire Cabrera, there is good news: The Angels retain hard-hitting second baseman Howie Kendrick, promising young catcher Jeff Mathis and top pitching prospect Nick Adenhart, all players the Marlins wanted for Cabrera.

“We had interest in trying to do something . . . we feel we made competitive offers . . . but it takes two teams to get a deal done, and ours wasn’t a fit,” said Reagins, who did not have serious negotiations with the Marlins in Nashville. “I think they thought they had a better deal [with Detroit] than they thought they could accomplish [with us].”

The Angels are expected to continue their pursuit of Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada, whom they would move to third base, but they have so far balked at the Orioles’ asking price, believed to be pitcher Jered Weaver and a top prospect such as Brandon Wood, and have not met with Baltimore officials here.

They could explore a deal for Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge, who is now expendable but has three years and $19.2 million remaining on his contract, or Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre. They could also renew their pursuit of third baseman Garrett Atkins, who they’ve been unable to pry from Colorado, or go after Scott Rolen of St. Louis.

“We’ll keep making phone calls and talking with other clubs to see if we can improve,” Reagins said. “This really has no bearing as to how we’re going to move forward.”

Reagins also said that “some interesting and exciting things have surfaced” in the last 24 hours, “things with new teams that I didn’t expect to come up. We have strengths in certain areas, and other organizations see that.”

Reagins has revealed little in terms of potential player personnel moves during his first six weeks as GM, but on this point Tuesday, he made himself clear:

The Angels, despite reports on a number of websites and television stations earlier Tuesday, have not intensified their efforts to acquire Minnesota ace Johan Santana.

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Though Reagins acknowledged he spoke to Minnesota GM Bill Smith on Monday night, he did not speak to Smith on Tuesday or have a meeting planned with him Tuesday night. The Angels inquired about Santana last week but have not aggressively pursued him.

“We haven’t had any discussions about adding starting pitching,” Reagins said. “The rumors are out there, I know that, but it’s rumor. I’ve been watching ESPN, seeing things that are being reported, and you just wonder where it comes from sometimes.”

The Boston Red Sox remain front-runners to get Santana.

Representatives for Guerrero, who has one year remaining on a five-year, $70-million contract that includes a $15-million option for 2009, met with Reagins on Tuesday night to begin to explore a contract extension for the right fielder.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com


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