Eckstein trade talks are stalled

Times Staff Writer

The Angels and the Toronto Blue Jays were closing in on a deal Friday that would have returned popular shortstop David Eckstein to Anaheim. But talks stalled, apparently when another club also expressed serious interest in the 2006 World Series most valuable player.

“I’ve had conversations with Toronto about several players. And other clubs about other players,” said Angels General Manager Tony Reagins, who declined to address Eckstein’s status, saying “any specific player, I’m not going to talk about.”

However, Reagins did say no deal was imminent, which could mean the Blue Jays are continuing to explore other options. The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox may be among the teams interested in Eckstein. The Dodgers, who also need depth in the infield, are among the teams monitoring the situation, although a deal is considered a longshot.

Eckstein, who played a key role on the Angels’ only World Series championship club in 2002, would provide a boost for a team that has lost two shortstops and a second baseman to injury in the last two weeks. And if he’s traded to them before 9 p.m. PDT Sunday, Eckstein would be eligible for the Angels’ postseason roster. Outfielder Garret Anderson is the only current Angels starter who was also a regular in the 2002 postseason.


A .285 career hitter, Eckstein, 33, made two trips to the disabled list this season and has lost his starting job to John McDonald. Eckstein, who has also played second base this summer, is entering the final month of a $4.5-million free-agent contract he signed with Toronto in December.

With the deal apparently on hold, however, Reagins and Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said the team is exploring other options.

“There’s a lot of things to look at,” Scioscia said. “Sometimes the solution’s in-house, sometimes the solution is going to be another player coming in that can have an immediate impact on that depth chart.”

As to whether all that can happen in the next two days, Reagins remained hopeful.

“This game is crazy,” he said. “You never know. Sometimes you think you’re in and you’re out. Sometimes you think you’re out and you’re in.”

Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.