The latest and juiciest Angels and Dodgers gossip just plucked from the grapevine:
•The Angels are expected to make a huge offer to free agent first baseman Mark Teixeira this week, before their exclusive negotiating window expires Thursday.
Speculation is it will be a six- or seven-year deal worth an average of $20 million a year, but I don't expect the Angels to allow agent Scott Boras to shop their offer around when other teams are allowed to submit bids.
Take-it-or-leave-it doesn't usually work with Boras, but the Angels want to proceed with their offseason roster tinkering as soon as possible.
•Don't know if it's true, but I received an e-mail from someone who sat near "friends" of Teixeira during the playoffs who were talking as if Teixeira's wife wasn't thrilled with living in Southern California.
Understandable. Took me a long time to get used to living in paradise, too. All kidding aside, a professional athlete never made a major decision based on what his wife thought, right? (Sorry, couldn't stop myself).
If Teixeira wants to go to the playoffs every year, he'll be back. If other things are more important ... well, the Baltimore Orioles (good crabcakes) and Washington Nationals (good theater district) are interested.
The Yankees? Teixeira seems much too low-key for that atmosphere. Boston? Only if Kevin Youkilis moves to third base.
•From what I hear, Angels owner Arte Moreno already has decided against bringing back record-breaking closer Francisco Rodriguez.
Maybe that's why MLB.com reported this week the Angels were one of four teams – Mets, Rangers and Tigers the others – to have asked to look at the medical records of Nationals closer Chad Cordero, the former Cal State Fullerton star who had shoulder surgery in July but is expected to be ready for spring training.
•The Mets are still very interested in K-Rod, but not at the rumored cost of a five-year, $75 million contract. That's why they also have Colorado's Brian Fuentes and the Cubs' Kerry Wood on their wish list.
ESPN's Peter Gammons says the Mets will look elsewhere if Rodriguez wants more than $10-12 million a year for three years. And he turned down a similar Angels offer (three years, $34 million) last spring.
•There have been whispers the Angels also are interested in trading for Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins or Rockies left fielder Matt Holliday. If it's Atkins, Chone Figgins could move to left to replace Garret Anderson.
•A report in the Detroit Free Press listed Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez as a good trade fit for the Angels. Color me skeptical, because Ordonez is 34 and guaranteed $18 million next season, with vesting options for $18 million in 2010 and $15 million in 2011.
•If Manny Ramirez doesn't accept the Dodgers' reported two-year, $45 million contract offer – and we all know the odds of that, don't we? – the team will turn its attention to free-agent pitcher C.C. Sabathia.
At least Dodgers GM Ned Colletti used his temporarily exclusive negotiating rights to make "Manny Me" a lucrative offer, but not even a two-year, $55 million offer (matching Alex Rodriguez's record average salary) would have persuaded Manny and Boras to accept such a short-term deal.
The only way Manny returns to the Dodgers is if the market doesn't bear what Boras thought it would. And he's rarely wrong.
•By the way, there have been numerous published reports that Sabathia – he reportedly has been offered a five-year, $100 million contract to re-sign with the Brewers – wants to move his off-season residence to Southern California this winter.
That could help the Dodgers' cause, especially because Sabathia likes pitching – and batting – in the National League. Maybe the Angels will kick CC's tires, too.
•The Dodgers want free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal back, but a long-term contract is out of the question. The A's and Giants also are interested.
•The Twins are interested in Dodgers free-agent third baseman Casey Blake.•The New York Post reported Dodgers-Yankees trade talks, with second baseman Robinson Cano coming to LA and the Yankees interested in catcher Russell Martin or outfielder Matt Kemp. Sounds like East Coast fiction.
•Dodgers outfielder Andruw Jones, the bust of the year, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he'd like to finish career back in Atlanta. Colletti and Dodgers fans would be in favor of that -- immediately.
Ba-da-bing! From Jay Leno, noted late-night wise guy: "The economy is so bad, A-Rod is dating Madonna just to get the senior citizens' discount."