Reporting from Dallas --The Angels may be unwilling to meet C.J. Wilson’s initial asking price, but that hasn’t dampened their aggressive pursuit of the free-agent left-hander, which continued at the winter meetings Monday.
Asked whether he would be hesitant to give a free-agent pitcher more than the five-year, $85-million deal Angels ace Jered Weaver signed in August, General Manager Jerry Dipoto said, “It would certainly create some hesitancy.”
Wilson is reportedly seeking a deal of at least $100 million.
But Dipoto was also unfazed by another report that Wilson had received a six-year offer, one that was subsequently tied to, and denied by, the Washington Nationals.
“Speculation is speculation -- I don’t believe everything I hear,” Dipoto said. “I will continue to sit down with players, and we’ll find the right fit for us.”
Wilson’s agent, Bob Garber, met with Dipoto at the GM meetings in Milwaukee last month, and Wilson, who was 16-7 with a 2.94 earned-run average for Texas last season, had dinner with Dipoto and Manager Mike Scioscia in Los Angeles the week after.
Garber said upon arriving at the winter meetings Monday that he “absolutely” planned to meet again with the Angels, and there were indications the sides were in serious talks late Monday.
Wilson, 31, reportedly has offers from five teams, including the Angels and Miami Marlins, and the Rangers are trying to retain him.
Dipoto also quashed heavy speculation that the Angels are pursuing a closer, saying he was content to enter 2012 with hard-throwing right-hander Jordan Walden, who had a 2.98 ERA, 32 saves and 10 blown saves as a rookie last season.
“We’ve explored lot of different options, but we have not made an offer to any ninth-inning guy,” Dipoto said. “I just don’t think it’s a primary need.”
Adding a starting pitcher and a potent bat “would take precedent” over a closer, but the Angels remain in the hunt for a right-hander in what Dipoto called a “spastic” relief market.
“You don’t quite know where it’s going to go -- all you can do is identify players that may fit well and remain patient through the process,” Dipoto said. “We’re searching more for an experienced setup guy.”