There's been no shortage of ideas that have been floated around by the media and fans concerning the Angels in 2011. I think we've seen enough threads and conversations shift into a direction of what people think the Angels SHOULD do. But, I wanted to gauge what we all think the Angels WILL do. After all, how often do the Angels do exactly what we thought they should do?
I'll kick it off. I think Tony Reagins has been clear that he wants to make some serious moves this offseason, and Arte has allowed the Angels GM to have a little money to play with. I doubt the Angels up their payroll into the 135 million range as suggested by some of the lesser informed sources. I do believe however, that the Angels will have some money to spend given that after the 2011 season, a whole lot of money will be coming off the books.
I'd just like to reiterate, this is NOT what I would do, but what I think the Angels WILL do, and I would thank all of you for understanding the distinction and keeping the comments centered around this.
1. Trade Mike Napoli. His value is about as high as it will get right now. He's shown teams that while he's not going to hit for average, he will provide solid power and is a relatively capable (at least in comparison to the top FA catcher V-Mart) defensive catcher. I think he will be dealt to a team that plans on contending rather than rebuilding and can take on 6 million, so major league players more than likely won't be involved in the return and his suitors will be limited (Padres, Reds, Brewers, Mets, Tigers and Red Sox). I feel like the most likely destination is Milwaukee, mostly because Napoli surrounded by hundreds of drunk women would be a media frenzy.
2. Trade Juan Rivera. The Angels soured on his LF defense and already have a RF in Torii Hunter. I feel like the Angels will be moving Juan Rivera to a team with an outside shot at competing, but can't afford to spend 10's of millions. I'm not sure what exactly the return will be, perhaps a reliever or prospects. Teams that would be interested would include the Red Sox (because of their shortage of outfielders), Blue Jays, Tigers, Indians, Mets, Astros, Cubs, Padres. I feel like the most likely target is the Padres, next year will be the final year they can hold onto Gonzo, and will need to add offense in an effort to make the playoffs which they narrowly missed in 2010.
3. Trade Maicer Izturis. It's either Izzy and his reasonable 3 million dollar price tag or Alberto Callaspo and his significantly lower price. Callaspo has a bit more upside offensively, which is what this team needs. Teams interested in adding Izzy will have a need at utility infielder or middle infielder. Among the most likely destinations are the Tigers, Mets, Nationals, Astros, Padres and Giants. If I were to choose one team out of this mix, I feel like it would be the Padres, who will be looking for a starting SS and fill in 3B.
4. Release Bobby Wilson. It would seem like Mathis should be released, but Scioscia has his preferences and Mathis' premium level of play this season was seemingly enough o keep Wilson out of the lineup. The pitchers have all reported that they enjoyed throwing to Conger and I believe we will see a Conger/Mathis timeshare next season.
These moves alone would seemingly clear up 12-15 million in payroll, leaving us around the 100-105 million dollar mark.
5. Sign Adrian Beltre 4 years 55 million dollars (approximately 13-14 million a year). The Angels will need to outbid the Red Sox for his services and he has a nazi agent, so his price tag will be hefty. Also, we should all come to terms with the fact that Adrian Beltre is going to be 32 years old, so the second half of this contract might not look so good, and he's not going to hit .320. I feel like we will be overpaying for a player we sort of need, but mostly want.
6. Sign Paul Konerko 1 year 7 million with vesting options making it approximately 2 years 15 million. I feel like this will be done primarily because the Angels will inevitably be outbid for the services of Carl Crawford. Konerko will be brought in primarily for DH and to also serve as a fill in at 1B. Paul is going to be 35 years old, and has been playing in a HR happy park that has inflated his numbers. The Angels have coveted Konerko for a while, and we should expect solid numbers, but not White Sox numbers. .280/.350 30 DB 25 HR.
7. Sign Scott Downs 2 years 10 million. I think the Arte will not want to risk any more bullpen implosions this season, as the bullpen has given away many wins in the past two season. I expect the Angels will sign Scott Downs and immediately insert him into the set-up role and lefty specialist.
This should put the Angels somewhere between the 125 million and 130 million mark, which is close to where we sit now after the acquisition of Dan Haren.
To begin the season:
BENCH: Willits, Pettit, Kendrick, Mathis
ROTATION: Weaver, Haren, Santana, Pineiro, Kazmir
BULLPEN: Rodney, Downs, Walden, Jepsen, Kohn, Bulger, Thompson
AAA: Bell, Palmer, Rodriguez, Reckling, Trumbo, Amarista, Moore, Romine,
- Callaspo and Kendrick will split time at 2B, and Callaspo will give Beltre a needed day off occasionally, as Beltre isn't getting any younger.
- Toward the end of the season, I expect to see Willits and Pettit spend significant amount of time in the OF, as Hunter and Abreu will inevitably wear down.
I feel like this is an accurate reflection of what Reagins has in mind when he says he intends on making some serious moves. They aren't the moves I'd like to make, because I feel like we need to get faster, stronger and younger, but I do think they make this team stronger. These moves also make it so that this offense isn't entirely reliant upon one hitter, who if he goes down, takes the teams chances of winning with him. We saw it with Vlad, we saw it with Kendry. Adding Konerko and Beltre should fix that.
So what do you think? Remember, no saying what YOU would do, I want what you think the ANGELS will do.