First come, first served?
Weaver could find the cupboard bare if the Angels sign Morales.
By MARK SAXON
The Orange County Register
ANAHEIM ? It has been nearly six months since the Angels took Long Beach State right-hander Jered Weaver with their first draft pick, and they still haven't begun serious negotiations. But Weaver insists he will be an Angel by spring training.
"It's going to get done," Weaver said Thursday.
Yet if Weaver's agent, Scott Boras, doesn't call Angels general manager Bill Stoneman soon, he might find the team's coffers have dwindled. The team is in the middle of trying to sign Cuban defector Kendry Morales, a switch-hitting young slugger who is widely considered the best player to flee Cuba since pitcher Jose Contreras two years ago.
Morales, listed as 20, fled Cuba in June and is living in the Dominican Republic, where he has worked out for the Angels more than once this fall. His agent, David Valdes, reportedly is seeking a deal similar to that of the Texas Rangers' star young first baseman, Mark Teixeira: four years and $9.5 million.
That dollar amount is roughly what Boras is reportedly seeking for Weaver.
"There's only a finite amount of money," Angels scouting director Eddie Bane said.
Valdes confirmed the Angels have been in on negotiations to land Morales. Five teams have expressed interest in the infielder, but the Florida Marlins and Cleveland Indians reportedly have balked at Valdes' asking price. Valdes said Morales will play Dominican winter ball if no team will pay what they're seeking.
"We'll have to make a big decision in a couple of days," Valdes said.
Morales batted .391 for the Cuban team Industriales in 2003, and he hit a grand slam for the Cuban national team that beat Taiwan in the final of the 2003 baseball World Cub in Havana.
Boras, who has a reputation for taking negotiations to the brink, did not return a phone call Thursday. He might not have as much leverage with Weaver as he has with other high-profile draft picks. Weaver said he doesn't want to play independent ball if a deal isn't worked out with the Angels by June. That came as good news to the Angels.
"It's just time to get going," Bane said. "I don't sense any urgency on their part at all. We've just been like, 'OK, we'll see what happens.' But (Boras) ran into a very patient man in Stoneman. He knows what he wants to do. We're not going to bid against ourselves."
Weaver, who swept the college player of the year awards, has been working out with a personal trainer in Irvine in hopes of reporting to spring training ready to go. He said he is not concerned that Boras - who represents most of the high-profile major-league free agents on the market - will be distracted from completing a deal to make him an Angel.
"He's one of the best in the business. I'm sure he's sitting down and counting all of his chips before we get everything in order," Weaver said. "I've heard they're going to start talking soon."
The Angels added right-handed pitchers Ervin Santana and Steven Shell, left-handed pitcher Joe Saunders, catcher Jeff Mathis and infielder Alberto Callaspo to their 40-man roster. The roster is at 38.