It is entirely plausible that the Angels could sign one or more of the top remaining free agents — left-hander Cliff Lee, outfielder Carl Crawford, third baseman Adrian Beltre and closer Rafael Soriano.
The team finally expressed interest in Lee on Tuesday, major league sources said. Signing him could make sense, and not simply to keep him away from the Rangers, the Angels’ biggest rival in the AL West.
True, the Angels already have nearly $50 million committed to five starting pitchers — right-handers Dan Haren, Jered Weaver, Joel Pineiro, Ervin Santana and lefty Scott Kazmir.
However, the clock is ticking on Weaver, who's eligible for arbitration twice more before becoming a free agent. He'll receive a significant raise from his $4.265 million salary this offseason, and another bump next winter.
And that might be it for his Angels career.
Weaver’s agent, Scott Boras, generally prefers clients to establish their values on the open market rather than sign contract extensions prior to free agency.
The Angels could sign Lee, then trade Weaver for premium offensive help and emerge in a stronger position with their rotation, at least in terms of long-term control.
The righty Santana, signed through 2012 with a club option for ’13, is another possible trade candidate. The Angels could clear $20 million by trading him.
-Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi