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Thursday, November 17, 2011
Source: C.J. Wilson to visit Angels

By Jerry Crasnick
ESPN.com

MILWAUKEE -- Free-agent left-hander C.J. Wilson will begin his tour of potential destinations with a visit to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday, a baseball source told ESPN.com.

Wilson, 31, is a prime target for several clubs after going 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA in 223 1/3 innings for the American League champion Texas Rangers this season. He is scheduled to return from a trip to Japan on Saturday, and has visits to several other clubs on his to-do list.

The Angels made no secret of their interest in Wilson during the baseball general managers' meetings this week in Milwaukee. Jerry Dipoto, the team's new GM, had a lengthy meeting Monday with Wilson's agent, Bob Garber of Select Sports Group.

The Angels already have one of baseball's best rotations with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana in the 1-2-3 spots, but Dipoto said the team is open to the idea of building upon an area of strength this winter. Los Angeles' rotation ranked second in the AL to Tampa Bay with a 3.59 ERA.

"I don't know that you can ever have enough pitching," Dipoto said after the meeting with Garber. "When you have an opportunity to sit down and talk with the likes of C.J. Wilson, you at least want to express that level of interest. Clearly he's been very, very good in recent years, and he's a guy we do have interest in."

The Rangers, Yankees, Marlins, Nationals, Red Sox and Royals are among the other teams that had meetings in Milwaukee with Garber, who also represents free-agent right-hander Roy Oswalt.

Wilson was born in Newport Beach, Calif., and went to school at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, but Dipoto said he's unsure whether the lure of coming home would factor into the pitcher's decision.

"It's tough to say," Dipoto said. "For some players, that makes a big difference. For others, not so much. We have a competitive club, and we believe we're going to be in a good position. I think it's an attractive destination for a lot of players. Whether it is for C.J. Wilson or not, only he can answer that. I don't know."

While the Angels continue to court Wilson, his former team in Texas is preparing for the possibility of losing him. One scenario high on the Rangers' list is for closer Neftali Feliz to move from the bullpen to the starting rotation next season. Club president Nolan Ryan said Wednesday that the Rangers then would be forced to find a replacement for Feliz at the back end of the bullpen, whether internally or through a trade or free-agent signing this offseason.

Ryan said the Rangers have just begun conversations with Garber about Wilson and expect the pitcher to go through an extensive "process" this winter to determine his value on the open market.

"C.J. was a big part of our teams the last two years, with the number of innings he's given us and the job he's done," Ryan said. "Any ballclub is going to miss that if they lose it. Obviously we have concerns if he goes someplace else. We have to make those innings up. And it's not just making up innings -- but quality innings."

Senior writer Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.