Winter Meetings: Part 1

Joe Nathan pitches for the Giants in the spring of 2003.

It looks like Autryism has been averted for one day, as the Detroit Tigers agreed to flush their future to acquire Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Florida Marlins. Good luck signing those guys in their free agent years.

A rumor made the rounds earlier in the day that the Angels had made a bid for Twins ace Johan Santana, but Angels GM Tony Reagins squelched that rumor.

"We haven’t had any discussions with regard to adding starting pitching," Reagins told’s Lyle Spencer. But he did acknowledge discussions with the Twins. Spencer wrote, "Reagins did speak with new Twins general manager Bill Smith on Monday, as the four-day Winter Meetings commenced, but he claimed Santana’s name did not surface in the conversation."

I’m going to speculate that they talked about Twins closer Joe Nathan. ran a story that the Twins might be shopping Nathan, who’s a free agent after 2008. Reagins said he and GM Smith hadn’t talked about "starting pitching." Well, what about relief pitching?

According to the article, Nathan (who turned 33 last month) will be paid $6 million for 2008, making him an affordable commodity. Angels owner Arte Moreno has said the Angels are already over budget for 2008.

I wrote in my October 9 blog that I thought the Angels should move Francisco Rodriguez this winter. Frankie made $7 million in 2007 and is up for arbitration this winter, so he’ll certainly make more than Nathan. Rodriguez will be a free agent after 2008, and personally I have strong doubts he’ll sign an extension with the Angels. Frankie is an increasingly unstable personality on the mound, as demonstrated by his having "no game plan" facing Manny Ramirez in Game #2 of the ALDS playoffs, surrendering a walkoff homer that essentially sank the Angels’ hopes to advance in the post-season.

At the time, I suggested the Angels pursue Mariano Rivera if he hit the free agent market, but he’s returned to the Yankees. I also thought Troy Percival might help the bullpen depth, but he signed a two-year deal to join Joe Madden in Tampa Bay.

So if the Angels can swing a trade for Nathan, it’ll free up Rodriguez for a deal. Package Frankie with a spare starting pitcher and other teams will come flocking to Reagins’ suite door.

Reagins also told Spencer he’d had no contact with Baltimore, so I think the Miguel Tejada deal is moribund for now.

What would Minnesota want from the Angels in exchange for Nathan? I’ve no idea. I don’t follow the Twins. But he’ll sure be a heckuva lot cheaper than Cabrera or Tejada.

This article is copyright © 2007 Stephen C. Smith DBA It may not be reprinted elsewhere without the prior expressed written permission of the author. To obtain permission, e-mail Stephen at




    Twins needs outfielders.

    Angels have lots of those.

    Between Willits, Rivera, Haynes, Murphy, Evans, Gournault — there’s lots to trade.


    I guess that would explain why those guys are no longer on the Angels roster.


    I guess there was no room for them.

    Well, I guess they can still free up Rivera and Haynes or Willits.

    They should keep Evans.


    I think Nathan would be a good pickup. He’s a solid closer and Frankie would then make very good trade bait.

    I very much like the team as it stands today. I have no problem with Figgy handling 3B, as long as he puts up good numbers offensively. A #1 starting pitcher would be the “frosting on the cake”, as long as no holes are created to acquire one. But they are very well stocked for the start of the season and for any necessary trades before the July 31 deadline.

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