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ANGELS STRATEGIZE ABOUT DEALING OUTFIELDER.

Byline: Joe Haakenson Staff Writer

Baseball's winter meetings began quietly for the Angels, but they promise to get more interesting soon.

Angels general manager Bill Stoneman wasn't much for small talk, instead checking into his hotel room at about 3 p.m., then meeting with his scouting staff.

Stoneman said it is ``very important'' the Angels make a deal during these meetings, which end Tuesday. And it's no secret what he wants and what he'll give up.

Stoneman plans to trade one of his four outfielders - Jim Edmonds, Garret Anderson, Darin Erstad or Tim Salmon - to get a starting pitcher.

``Our situation is that we have four legitimate starting outfielders,'' Stoneman said. ``Our position is that any of the four could start in any outfield in baseball.''

But while Stoneman has said no Angel is untouchable, he hinted that Salmon and Erstad won't be going anywhere.

``We're pretty much a left-handed hitting ballclub,'' Stoneman said. ``That in itself makes it tougher to deal Tim Salmon. But it doesn't mean we won't listen to offers.''

Erstad isn't likely to go because he's he's young (25), relatively inexpensive ($2.5 million for 2000) and talented.

``Those young guys that are good players are very valuable,'' Stoneman said, including third baseman Troy Glaus in that group.

That leaves Edmonds and Anderson, both of whom are free agents after the 2000 season. They have heard the rumors in past years.

Edmonds has said he'd like to stay but realizes his time may have come.

``He is open minded about it,'' Edmonds' agent Paul Cohen said. ``He's certainly not ruling out remaining an Angel, but he's more open minded to the possibility of what might happen.''

The teams showing the most interest in Edmonds are the Rockies, Cubs, Mets and Devil Rays. Those teams also might have an interest in Anderson. Stoneman acknowledged there are two ways he could go about working out a deal.

``One way is to hold an auction - listen to all the offers and pick the best one,'' he said. ``But if you have an opportunity to do something and you like it, do it. Because those things can go away, too. That offer may not be there tomorrow.''

While there have been rumors that even a Mo Vaughn could be traded, despite having five years and about $65 million left on his contract, Stoneman said don't expect it.

``I said I'd listen to anything, but I'd be surprised if anybody asked,'' he said.

Former Angels general manager Bill Bavasi attended the meetings and expects to remain here all week. He's still officially a Disney employee, but is working on other baseball related activities as well.

Asked what he's been up to lately, Bavasi said: ``Nothing . . . I built my son a skateboard ramp.''

Bavasi has watched Stoneman tear down and rebuild what was his player development staff, scouting department and major league coaching staff, but wouldn't criticize him.

``They've got to put together a unit they're comfortable with,'' Bavasi said.

Notes: The Angels named Darrell Miller as director of player development. Miller, 41, has been with the Angels for 21 years as a player, community relations director and scouting supervisor. . . . The Mariners are said to have taken the lead in the Chuck Finley sweepstakes. Still in the race for the former Angels pitcher are the Indians, Red Sox, Mets and Diamondbacks.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 11, 1999
Words:560
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