Angels look like they're slipping off saddle again

Back when they were still owned by Gene Autry, the California Angels (as they were then known, but that's another story) were a snakebitten team. No matter what they did, or how much money the singing cowboy spent, the Halos always fell short of winning the World Series.

All that was wiped away in 2002, when the Angels beat the Giants in seven. But now, at the start of a new decade, it appears that what's old is new again.

First, the Angels lost their best hitter, Kendry Morales, for the season with a broken left leg that resulted from a celebration at home plate after a game-winning grand slam, no less.

Now they've lost another front-line player, shortstop Erick Aybar. The latest mishap happened during Monday night's game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Aybar was covering second on a double play, but the throw from fill-in first baseman Kevin Frandsen was a little wide, forcing the shortstop to stretch - at the same time that Casey McGehee was executing a hard slide. The resulting knee-on-knee collision knocked Aybar out of the game, and possibly for a long time. McGehee was OK.

Bankruptcy in the majors

A lawyer for the Texas Rangers urged a bankruptcy judge Tuesday to accept the team's plan to pay creditors $75 million, saying the deal would not hurt any lenders and clear the way for a long-delayed sale.

Earlier this year, team owner Tom Hicks announced an agreement to sell the team for $575 million to a group led by Hall of Fame pitcher and team president Nolan Ryan and Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg. The deal has been stalled by concerns from creditors, who say that bid was not the highest.

The Rangers have said that was the best bid, and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn said he tended to agree with them. Rangers attorney Martin Sosland said the $75 million represents the full amount owed to the lenders.

But some of the creditors have alleged that Hicks and the prospective ownership group made a series of last-minute agreements that capped the team's liability for the debt at $75 million. Among its top 30 unsecured creditors is Alex Rodriguez, who is owed $24.9 million in deferred compensation six years after he was traded.

One Valentine the Orioles could do without

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine has been in talks with the Orioles about their manager's job. (Juan Samuel is the team's interim skipper.)

Maybe team owner Peter Angelos should consider a few things before making any offers.

Valentine has managed the Texas Rangers, New York Mets and Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines. And although he posted a 1,117-1,072 record in the majors, and led the Mets to the World Series in 2000, there are some downsides to consider, like what happened to those teams after he left. Let's review: The Rangers are in bankruptcy (see above item); the Mets have been underachieving for years; and does anyone really know the Chiba Lotte Marines?

Just thinking out loud.