(Did I just inject some Sox-Yanks when unneccessary? Hmm...)
CHICAGO -- Bartolo Colon was close to an agreement with the Anaheim Angels, The Associated Press learned Monday, a contract that would give the team one of the top pitchers on the free-agent market.
While neither Colon nor the Angels discussed the talks Monday, both Anaheim and the Chicago White Sox believed the right-hander was on the verge of a deal with Anaheim, said two baseball officials who were familiar with details of Colon's negotiations with the two teams. The pair spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Anaheim offered a $48 million, four-year contract, one of the officials said. Once a preliminary agreement is reached, the right-hander still must pass a physical.
Colon's agent, Mitch Frankel, did not return several telephone calls from The Associated Press. Angels spokesman Bill Stoneman refused to confirm or deny talks.
"We've been more active this offseason than last," Stoneman said. "We're still trying to get some other things done. In terms of what they are, we're only going to comment on that stuff once we do have something that we announce publicly."
The Angels could be dealing again if the Alex Rodriguez-Manny Ramirez trade goes through. Five-time All-Star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra would be out of a job, and it's believed the Red Sox could trade him to the Angels for a pitcher, possibly Jarrod Washburn, or second baseman Adam Kennedy.
The Chicago White Sox badly wanted Colon back, with general manager Ken Williams offering a three-year contract worth a reported $36 million -- the largest ever for a White Sox pitcher. But Colon rejected the offer in October.
Though the White Sox offered Colon arbitration Sunday night, Williams seemed resigned Monday to losing the 20-game winner. Asked if he was still negotiating with Colon, Williams said no, but didn't rule out the possibility.
Asked if he was optimistic talks would happen, Williams said, "no."
Colon has until Dec. 19 to accept or reject the arbitration offer. If he signs elsewhere, the White Sox would get a compensatory draft pick.
Colon was only 15-13 with a 3.87 ERA this year, but he's coveted for his durability and consistency. He's a 20-game winner who has reached double-digit victories in six straight seasons.
He pitched a career-high nine complete games this year, and was second in the AL with 242 innings. His 173 strikeouts also ranked in the top 10. In seven seasons with Cleveland, Montreal and Chicago, the 30-year-old Colon is 100-62 with a 3.86 ERA.