Among the rumors swirling around the ever-active Angels this offseason is that they have interest in a certain member of the 500-home run club.
Future Hall of Fame first baseman/designated hitter Rafael Palmeiro, who has smacked 528 homers and collected 2,780 hits in a 17-year career, is a free agent and will not return to the Rangers after Texas did not offer him arbitration by the Dec. 7 deadline.
Angels general manager Bill Stoneman refused to confirm or deny the Angels' interest in Palmeiro, but he has said recently that he's looking for more offense, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported last Wednesday that the Angels are among five teams pursuing Palmeiro.
When asked Tuesday evening over the telephone if he'd be interested in playing for the Angels, Palmeiro didn't hesitate to answer.
"Yes, absolutely," Palmeiro said.
"First of all, they won the World Series two years ago, and everybody pretty much is in place there, for the most part. The team that won it is almost there."
Palmeiro also expressed excitement about the fact that the Angels brought in hard-throwing free-agent right-handers Kelvim Escobar and Bartolo Colon to beef up their starting rotation.
"That show's they're legitimate," Palmeiro said. "They're going after it again."
Palmeiro, who will turn 40 next September, made $9 million last year, but he won't command nearly that much in 2004.
The Angels seem like a good fit for him because Anaheim cut loose its primary first baseman, Scott Spiezio, by declining to offer arbitration at the Dec. 7 deadline.
The Angels also released Brad Fullmer, who had been their full-time DH until he blew out his knee last June.
Palmeiro, a former Gold Glove first baseman, played just 55 games at first last year because of the emergence of Texas rookie Mark Teixeira.
He hit 38 homers and drove in 112 runs, marking the ninth season in a row he has hit at least 38 homers and compiled at least 100 RBIs.
Palmeiro cited the Orange County lifestyle and new Angels owner Arte Moreno as other reasons he'd be excited to play in Edison Field.
"I love Southern California," he said. "It's a great area with great fan support and they have a new owner. So everything seems to be in place there."
The slugger talked to Moreno before a game at Edison International Field last summer and said the two had a brief but pleasant conversation.
"I had a chance to meet him on the field and basically welcomed him into the baseball world," Palmeiro said.
"I wouldn't have a problem playing for him."
Palmeiro's agent, Fernando Cuza, did not return phone calls on Tuesday.
looks like palmerio likes the angels and it seems the angels are putting together a nice team this year and could land nomar 2.