The news of the Angels decision to abandon their pursuit of Teixeira, sent tremors in the wee hours of the morning across Cardinal Nation as Anaheim figures to explore other free-agent pursuits including the possible signing of the left-handed closer Brian Fuentes.
Fuentes, the 33-year-old closer for the Colorado Rockies last season has been targeted by the St. Louis to replace former Cardinals closer, free-agent Jason Isringhausen. St. Louis manager Tony La Russa went so far as to announce at the recent winter meetings in Las Vegas, that the club's signing of Brian Fuentes was the team's top priority for the winter shopping season.
According to a previous report in the St. Louis Post Dispatch the St. Louis Cardinals have offered Fuentes a two-year deal worth between $16 and $18 million, a bid that falls short of the three-year, $30 million dollar deal that Fuentes and his agent hope to land.
Fuentes has been waiting for the Angels to make a decision on seeking Teixeira's services, because Anaheim may be the only club willing to pay top dollar for the left-hander, widely considered the top closer remaining on the free-agent market.
A native of Merced California, Fuentes who saved 30 games for Colorado last season, told reporter James Burns of the Merced Sun-Star, "Anaheim would be a great fit, being a California kid," adding "That would be my first choice."
The Cardinals had grown a little weary waiting for a response from Fuentes on the their proposal, "From my end it's been a slow-moving process. It's a little bit frustrating," said Cardinals general manager, John Mozeliak, who was said to be reluctant to guarantee a third year to Fuentes. "The ball's in their court. We've worked on it. It's not that we don't want to negotiate anymore. But we're waiting for them."
The Cardinals may not have to wait much longer, with the Angels taking a pass on Teixeira; their attention is shifting focus to Fuentes, who by his own admission would rather play in California than St. Louis.
The Angels are clearly in the driver's seat, so much so, that they may only have to match the offer made by St. Louis to close the deal on Fuentes, forcing the Cardinals to rearrange their priorities.
The writing is on the wall, Fuentes to Anaheim, with the Cardinals still searching for a bargain in a closer during this winter shopping season.
2008 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.